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  • What are the intended benefits of a Hydro scheme for the communities of Marlow and Bisham?
    The aim of the project is to generate surplus funds from the sale of the electricity generated by the hydro scheme and to create and sustain a ‘Sustainability initiatives community fund’. It is intended that this fund will be available to help finance further sustainable, community-based initiatives in Marlow and Bisham. In addition, the aim of the project is that it will help Marlow play its part in contributing to the reduction of global GHG emissions by generating ‘clean’ energy from a constant, renewable source - the river Thames.
  • What will happen to the energy generated?
    We intend to sell the electricity to a single commercial user, in order to maximise the rates we can charge for the electricity. This is recognised as best practice with other schemes already generating hydroelectric power from the Thames. Any surplus funds generated will be reinvested in sustainability related initiatives for the local community.
  • Who will ‘design’ the scheme?
    The scheme will be complex and multifaceted. Each element of the project will require varying designs which will need to comply with regulations, be safe, and technically viable. Various commercial entities will be approached to submit responses and designs for a formal tender for different parts of the scheme.
  • Will I be able to get the power generated by the scheme to power my house?
    Unfortunately, it is currently impracticable/ economically unviable to distribute power direct to consumers. We intend to sell the power to a single commercial user at a rate that will allow us to generate surplus funds after running costs to reinvest in sustainability related initiatives for the local community. This follows best practice from other hydroelectric schemes along the Thames.
  • How will surplus funds be generated from the hydro scheme?
    Once completed and after any funds required for maintenance of the equipment, minimal running costs and provision is made for contingencies & through life costs, any remaining income from the sale of the hydroelectric power will be made available for investment in further sustainability initiatives for the benefit of the local community.
  • Who else will be involved in the project?
    The scheme will involve and work collaboratively with all appropriate stakeholders. As a team with ‘day jobs’ we will be limited by our capacity and would definitely welcome the offer of practical, intellectual (and moral!) support from any committed members of the community. Please get in touch if you fancy getting involved using the ‘contact us’ form.
  • Who will manage Bridge Hydro?
    The scheme will be registered as a Community Benefit Society (CBS). The articles of the CBS will articulate how the scheme will be administered. The development, commissioning and maintenance of the scheme will be governed by the CBS Executive on behalf of the members. It is envisaged that the investment of surplus funds will be administered by the elected members of a separate Community Investment Committee.
  • Who is the team behind the Bridge Hydro project?
    The founding members of the project are: Rob Olney - Aviation Executive Joe Middleton - Commercial Property Solicitor Pete Barber - Strategic Communications Jeremy Evans - Chartered Architect & Town Planner Vicki Scott - Stakeholder engagement Luke Geeves - Chartered conservation architect James Wild - Sustainable energy technology consultant
  • When will the scheme be operational?
    Due to the complexity of the scheme, we are not expecting the process to be speedy! The project will rely in large part on our ability to raise the funds required at the appropriate phases of the project. It will also depend on the speed and ability of third parties to engage in the process and give the appropriate permissions, approvals and licences. However, the construction and commissioning phases are not expected to take particularly long. From the moment the project is formally approved, it is hoped Bridge Hydro will be generating clean energy within 5 years.
  • How did the Bridge Hydro project start?
    It all started (as all the best projects do) with a conversation between friends in a pub - The Two Brewers to be precise. The team are all Marlow residents motivated to make a significant contribution to the Marlow community and are very aware of how special Marlow and the river is to both residents and visitors. This is a not-for-profit scheme which will be designed for the community, in the community, by the community.
  • Where would the proposed scheme be located?
    The proposed solution would be sited mostly under the water close to Marlow Weir and the river bank by the Compleat Angler, therefore the visual and audible impact will be minimal.
  • Will the hydro scheme be visible and what will it look like?
    As local residents, we understand the importance and the beauty of the bridge, church and adjacent areas. It is our intention to propose a design that minimises the visibility of the technology as much as possible. The scheme will lie predominantly under the water and not be visible from surrounding areas.
  • Why is Marlow suitable for a hydro scheme?
    The weir at Marlow has been assessed by technical experts as having an excellent flow and fall rate to produce reliable hydroelectricity throughout the year.
  • Why is Hydroelectric power such a good way to generate electricity?
    Hydropower is a clean energy source because it generates electricity without emitting greenhouse gases or other pollutants: it helps decrease fossil fuel consumption, thereby reducing air pollution and mitigating climate change, and it provides renewable energy that is sustainable. This is because the energy sources, namely rivers and streams, fed by the natural water cycle, are renewed.
  • What is hydropower?
    Hydropower or hydroelectric power is produced by using the natural flow of water to produce electricity. According to the British Hydropower Association ‘Hydropower, or water power, is one of the most reliable, predictable and least environmentally intrusive of all the renewable energy technologies’.
  • What is special about locally generated energy?
    Locally generated energy projects utilise local natural resources and contribute to the fight against climate change by lowering carbon emissions in our area. Producing electrical power near its point of use, reduces transmission and distribution losses, so less power is wasted.
  • How can the wider community get involved in the scheme?
    There will be an opportunity for the community to get involved and find out more through Public consultations and events. We intend to plan schools educational visits, and we welcome any offers of help as the team expands to take the project forwards. If you are interested, please get in touch via the ‘contact us’ form.
  • How will the construction partners and technology providers be procured?
    We will be running a tendering process to invite suppliers to quote for all elements of the project, the generation technology, the various consultation reports and studies required for the EA licences and planning permissions and the construction engineering.
  • What is a Community Benefit Society?
    A Community Benefit Society (CBS) is a form of limited company but with a very specific constitution designed for community projects and which is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Will there be any benefits to the local business community?
    The project would very much welcome the support from the local business community. Local businesses with the relevant experience will be invited to compete for any work required as part of the project design, implementation and operation. We would also be extremely grateful for financial contributions and where appropriate, financial contributions to Bridge Hydro could enhance the Environmental, Sustainable and Governance (ESG) credentials for those businesses that contribute. If you would like to get in contact, please use the contact form at the bottom the page.
  • Who will be able to apply for funding of green initiatives?
    It is envisaged that the scheme will provide funding for public/community facilities (schools/village halls etc.) to invest in low carbon technology to help reduce carbon emissions. This will have a twofold effect of improving our environment and hopefully, reduce operating costs for these facilities and amenities. We are not envisaging accepting applications from individuals at this time but we hope that every member of the community will feel the benefit of having such a local scheme.
  • Will Canoeists, boaters, rowers, swimmers, paddle boarders be affected?
    The Environment Agency recommends that all Hydro schemes should talk to local people that might be affected by a scheme before applying for an extraction license. We have an extensive list of stakeholders (more than 50 entities, bodies and organisations) who we are keen to engage with as part of this process in order to minimise the effects of the scheme, and where possible, improve and enhance the experience of this part of the river for the local community.
  • How much will the scheme cost to implement?
    As the scheme is still in its concept phase, and we have not yet consulted any contractors, it is hard to accurately estimate how much the scheme will cost to implement. Once we know more we will update the website.
  • How will surplus funds be generated from the hydro scheme?
    Once completed and after any funds required for maintenance of the equipment, minimal running costs and provision is made for contingencies & through life costs, any remaining income from the sale of the hydroelectric power will be made available for investment in further sustainability initiatives for the benefit of the local community.
  • How will the money be spent?
    The aim of the project is to generate surplus funds from the sale of the electricity generated by the hydro scheme and to create a ‘Green initiatives community fund’. This fund will be available to help finance further green, community-based initiatives in and around Marlow and Bisham.
  • Who will administer and govern the spending of funds?
    The scheme will be governed and administered by an elected community-based committee.
  • Who decides how surplus funds will be spent?
    The spend of any surplus funds generated will be governed and administered by a community-based committee.
  • What will the annual running costs be for the hydro scheme?
    The ethos of this scheme is that it is a facility in the community, for the community, by the community. Therefore, we will be looking to minimise operating costs by asking for community volunteer support. Existing hydroelectric schemes budget approximately 10-20% for maintenance costs, contingency budgets and saving for replacement/disposal of components in future years.
  • Will the project cost local residents any money?
    The project will be financially self-supporting and will seek both private investment from the local community and other funding as it becomes available. There will be no cost to local residents.
  • How much money is the scheme likely to generate per year?
    The money generated by the scheme will be dependent on the size, scale and environmental factors. At current estimations based on 2024 prices, it would not be unreasonable to suggest this scheme would generate sufficient sustainable clean electricity to realise £50-120K per annum.
  • How will the money to build the scheme be raised?
    We intend to raise the funds required from a combination of fundraising, philanthropy, grants and match funding (as available).
  • How will money be raised for the scheme?
    The scheme is predicated on generating sufficient funds through fundraising, philanthropy, grants and match funding to construct and commission the infrastructure, generator and connection to the consumer and grid.
  • How will wildlife be affected by the hydro scheme?
    The project team is extremely conscious of the effects this installation could have on the ecology in the immediate vicinity. The team will therefore be following any guidelines as recommended by the EA to ensure there is little or no impact to the wildlife on the river. A new, improved eel pass will be constructed as part of the project.
  • Will fishing be affected?
    Whilst access to fishing in the area may be restricted during the construction phase, it is envisaged that upon completion of the works there will be no change to the current access arrangements in and around the project. Existing rights of way and access arrangements will not be affected.
  • Will the scheme affect the flow of the river?
    The Environmental Agency requires a full hydrological assessment to be submitted as part of the abstraction licence application. The Environmental Agency are responsible for assessing the impacts of the proposed scheme on the river. This scheme will (propose to) minimise the effects on the flow of the river.
  • What happens during periods of drought?
    Flow and water level at the Thames weirs are managed by the lockkeepers. In alignment with other hydropower projects developed on the Thames, during a drought, the hydropower scheme would cease generating at or below a hands-off upstream water level until normal level and flow has been restored.
  • What happens when the river floods?
    We will be following any conditions attached to the extraction licence granted by the EA to ensure there is little or no impact to the flow of the river. During periods of serious flooding, the water on both sides of the weir can rise, which reduces the fall. Hydro generation relies on this fall and so during periods of serious flooding, the scheme will be inactive. We are extremely aware of the impacts of flooding and we will prioritise mitigation measures in our design.
  • How can Bridge Hydro benefit your business?
    There is an opportunity for businesses to improve their ESG credentials by getting involved with the Bridge Hydro project.
  • Do contributors in the hydro scheme have to be local?
    We intend to accept investment from anywhere subject to the usual and expected level of basic due diligence on any investors and their ultimate source of funds.
  • Will the project be paid for by fundraising or investment (Shareholders)? Or both?
    We intend to raise the funds required from a combination of fundraising and philanthropy, grants and match funding (if available).
  • What do contributors in the hydro scheme get in return for their support?
    Aside from being part of a scheme that raises the profile of the town as one supporting low carbon initiatives, the intention will be to more publicly recognise all contributors in the scheme (unless of course you wish to remain anonymous).
  • Will there be a curfew on work to restrict noise?
    We will agree specific periods of time for noisier activities to minimise disruption.
  • What will the stages of construction involve?
    We will need to receive solutions from the tender process in order to fully establish the precise construction phases.
  • Where will the site access be?
    The site access is envisaged to be from Quarrywood Road.
  • How long will construction take?
    We currently expect the construction phase to take in the region of 12 months.
  • Will there be any noise generated by the construction process?
    We intend to be very careful to consider the needs of local residents during construction phases.
  • Is the amount of power generated affected by the flow of the river?
    Yes, the amount of power will depend on the volume of water that travels through the turbine, which is determined by the river’s rate of flow.
  • Is the technology proven?
    We will only use technology that has been approved for use by the EA.
  • How long will the technology last?
    Different components of the scheme will deteriorate at different speeds, however, we expect the life expectancy of such a scheme to be between 40 & 50 years.
  • Who will maintain the hydro scheme once it becomes operational?
    We intend that the scheme will be as automated as possible, however some regular maintenance will be required and this cost will be incorporated into the plan. Local volunteers will also be needed to help - for example, to clean any debris collected by the debris screens on a regular basis.
  • Who will provide the technology?
    We will be running a tendering process to establish the final supplier of the technology.
  • Will the technology be noisy?
    As local residents, we are fully aware of the sensitivities around the generation of noise from such a scheme. Our intention is to source the quietest technology available at the time.
  • How much electricity will the scheme produce?
    This will depend on the scheme finally approved. Current estimates are between 400MWh and 700MWh per annum.
  • Are hydro schemes safe?
    We will adhere to any guidelines as issued by the EA in regard to safety.
  • Is there a danger to river users?
    We will adhere to any guidelines as issued by the EA in regard to safety.
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