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Community Action for our Energy Future

Total energy produced by our projects so far: 

1,160,536 kWh

Originally posted on 8 December 2010

Artist's impression of the propsed waterwheel at Kelham Island with the Kelham Island Brewery in the background.

Sheffield Renewables [1] has submitted an application for planning permission to build a hydropower scheme on Kelham Island. The project is a collaboration with Regeneration Officers at Sheffield City Council, and Kelham Island Museum, part of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust.

John Hamshere, Chief Executive of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust said “we are very excited about this project because Kelham Island is one of the earliest water power sites in Sheffield. This scheme blends our commitment to sustainable energy with our responsibilities for preserving and promoting Sheffield’s industrial heritage.”

The Kelham Island scheme comprises a ‘modern’ waterwheel to be located in an existing wheel pit and channel system. The wheel pit is one of the earliest industrial sites in Sheffield, possibly being used for water power as far back as the Middle Ages. The replacement wheel will be designed for a flow of 2 tonnes of water per second, generating around 75,000 kWh of electricity per year. This is the amount used by about 20 typical family homes [2], providing a saving of around 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year [3]. This pilot project has been selected for its prominent location. The water wheel will provide an educational and visitor attraction to an increasingly popular area.

Submission of the planning application marks the end of the first phase of development work completed with support from Sheffield City Council. Next steps include further technical development, application for an abstraction license and significant fundraising effort.

Sheffield Renewables welcomes comments and questions about the scheme, especially from anyone living near-by. We also offer a range of volunteering activities to suit different interests, experience and time you can spare.



[1] Sheffield Renewables is a community and a social enterprise that develops, funds, builds, owns and operates renewable energy schemes. This means that we are run by and for local people and also that we are not-for-profit. Any surplus money we earn is re-invested to support local sustainability. Much of our work is carried out by volunteers, which helps to reduce our costs.

Our schemes will contribute to city wide efforts to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for increasing local renewable energy provision. We reinforce these direct carbon savings through local outreach, communications and education. Our work also helps to strengthen social cohesion and community resilience by encouraging people to work together and to share a common purpose, and also by developing community owned assets. In pursuing our aims we work across the city for the benefit of everyone, while giving an additional focus to those areas close to our project sites.

[2] This is based on an average UK household electricity consumption of 3,935kWh per household per year. Provided by the Energy Saving Trust (see their website)

[3] Based on a carbon dioxide emission rate of 0.537kg CO2/kWh of grid generated electricity from The Carbon Trust (see their website)


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