In May 1981 Tony Turner, a retired submarine engineer, applied for an abstraction licence with the idea of re-opening the leat at Higher North Mill and installing a water turbine to generate power.
He experimented with a cross flow turbine, which he had constructed himself from lengths of plastic drainpipe, and eventually installed a turbine which generated 1kw.
In November 2008 I commissioned Pico Energy to carry out a feasibility study to install a Waterwheel. The Waterwheel, at a cost of £20,000, would have had to have been imported from Germany, this seemed excessive so the possibility of re-installing a turbine was investigated.
Although it was possible to find many companies offering consultation and feasibility studies it wasn’t until 2011 that I was able to find a company, Western Renewable Energy, that reluctantly agreed to design and install a Turbine. The design was completed but installation seemed to be a problem.
In 2012 I came across Totnes Solar, a company specialising in alternative energy but new to Micro Hydro Installation. They were setting up a new division “Totnes Hydro” and keen to get involved. With their help we finally got the project off the ground and work started on 1st November 2012 to repair the leat and install a new cross flow Turbine.