Positive Energy Solutions

Frack Free Somerset are keen to promote all of the safe, clean, green energy that is available to meet our energy needs in Somerset (as well as reduce our energy consumption). Below is an article written by Helen Moore from Frome Anti Fracking about a vision of Somerset powered by positive energy:


by Helen Moore

Water to wire

Tellisford Mill, which lies on the River Frome just outside the town, is a Saxon mill site, featured in the Domesday Book (1086).  It was in a ruinous state when its current owners acquired it – but after much work, it was restored to power in 2007.  Employing a double regulated kaplan turbine, this ‘water-to-wire’ system now generates sufficient electricity to supply their needs and to feed surplus electricity back to the grid.

Part of the Mendip Power Group, Tellisford is one of a number of hydroelectric mills on the Frome and Mells Rivers.  Along the 13-mile stretch to Freshford, where it joins the Avon, the Frome falls 50m, allowing for 26 mills, one every 0.5 miles, and several other mills have now installed turbines.  Beautifully, of course, when water is discharged at the end of a tailrace, it’s as clean as when it entered, and can then simply continue downstream to generate more power.[1]  

It’s been calculated that harnessing the power from all the streams and rivers in the UK could produce 10,000 GWh per year, enough to supply 3% of national generating capacity.  It doesn’t sound like much, but if we combined energy conservation with a spectrum of positive energy solutions, such as micro-hydroelectric, could Somerset (& the UK) really avoid extreme energy production such as ‘fracking’ for shale gas, which creates toxic, radioactive water pollution and earthquakes, and even the nightmare nuclear legacy we’re leaving future generations, its highly toxic waste?

New nuclear would be funded by higher fuel bills

With the British government supporting the production of extreme energy, estimates suggest that the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point would provide around 6% of the nation’s electricity needs.  ‘Hinkley C’ has now been approved for construction by French-owned EDF, one of the world’s largest energy companies.  Significantly, 99% of the UK’s electricity is generated by just six companies, which effectively dominate the market and, of course, have strong lobbying influence on government policy.

Buyer beware – although new nuclear power stations being built here will not be financed through public money (i.e. taxes), unless you buy your electricity from a green energy company, consumers will pay through future increases in their fuel bills.  Perhaps this is one of many good reasons to consider switching to green providers, for example Green Energy, Good Energy, or Ecotricity?  These companies encourage the generation of electricity from renewable sources such as the elements – water, wind, sun and sea – and from green gas, often made from food waste.

Cleaner, greener energy is possible

Figures from the No Need for Nuclear campaign[2] show that in 2010, 80% of the UK’s demand for electricity was generated from burning fossil fuels – one of the major causes of global warming – while 13% was from nuclear, with 6% from large-scale renewable energy production (such as wind-farms), and a remaining 1% saving from efficiency.  However, using highly detailed research data, No Need for Nuclear has projected that by 2020 it could be possible to have 77% generated by large-scale renewables, 6% by small-scale renewables, 12% by micro-generation, 5% saving from efficiency, which, with neither fossil fuels nor extreme energy in the mix, adds up to 100% of demand in 2010.

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