hydroelectric scheme has been installed at
Fiddleford Mill on the River Stour near Sturminster
Newton in Dorset. Specialist contractor Potential
Energy LLC installed a water turbine for the local
Pitt Rivers Estate, within the grounds of Grade 1
listed Fiddleford Manor House. The owner was keen
to supply power to the historic mill and
outbuildings. Recent technological advances in
turbine efficiency allow small flows to generate
electricity efficiently. The Archimedean screw
turbine that has been installed can produce a
maximum power output of 50kw and should produce 176
megawatt hours per year. This will provide power
for a small community of around 35 average houses,
since hydroelectricity is a flexible source of power
and the amount produced can be adapted to meet
Potential Energy LLC produced the scheme and working
drawings complete with flow calculations to submit
to the Environment Agency for their approval. The
planning application was then submitted to North
Dorset planning department in October 2011. It got
passed in March 2012. One year after planning
approval the turbine was commissioned during March
water enters the Archimedes screw at the top and the
weight of the water pushes on the helical flights.
This allows the water to fall to the lower level and
causes the screw to rotate, producing energy. It
has been proved that Archimedes screws are fish
friendly and fish can swim through the turbine
downstream without harm.
part of the scheme, modifications to the weir have
been carried out to make it easier for fish and eels
to migrate up stream more easily.
August 2020 I walked from Sturminster Newton to
Fiddleford Mill and was surprised at how well the
turbine house has blended into the landscape: see
photo. I particularly liked the view from the
opposite bank where the roof of the turbine housing
mimics that of the barns and has mellowed down to
the colour of the barn roofs.
Technical information from Clegg Associates.