News Articles

Chagford Hydro plant

Posted in News on Friday 10th January 2014 at 6:56pm

Forebay area at a site recently restarted after being closed down for around 20 years, now with crossflow turbine operating on 3.1m head.

Merry Christmas from all at WRE Ltd

Posted in News on Friday 21st December 2012 at 4:50pm

A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year from all at WRE Ltd.

Our offices will be closed from 1pm Friday 21st December till 9am Wednesday the 2nd January.

Wishing you all the best for the festive season

Cornish Waterwheel

Posted in News on Thursday 22nd March 2012 at 2:50am

A new WRE designed and comissioned generation system in Cornwall, recently installed - before guarding and housing of the generator and gearbox.

Fish pass

Posted in News on Thursday 22nd March 2012 at 2:47am

WRE has just completed the installation of a two flight fish pass with resting pool to allow upstream migrating fish pass a 5m high barrier in Devon

Exmoor Planning Success

Posted in News on Wednesday 7th March 2012 at 3:28am

WRE has been working for some time on a hydro scheme on the River Barle, a large tributary of the Exe.  Today permission was unanimously granted for a 78kW hydro plant on the river at Dulverton.  This system will be a reinstatement of a hydro scheme dormant since the 1950's.  The owners of the site have worked tirelessly to develop a proposal which includes the best practice available at this sensitive site.  The prospect of vastly improving the passage of fish past the site is to be welcomed, and the renewable power produced will mean that this is absolutely a 'win-win' site. 

We look forward to seeing this site become an exemplar of sustainability within the National Park.

Exmoor Pelton system

Posted in News on Wednesday 18th January 2012 at 3:14am

A view in the powerhouse of a 25kW single jet Pelton installed by WRE in Somerset, commissioned in 2012.

River Dart hydro scheme - progress

Posted in News on Wednesday 18th January 2012 at 3:09am

A view of the 250 tonne crane installing the 2.8 cumec, 4.5m head turbine - a 90kW machine which looks relatively small as it lifts over the new works at Buckfast.

buckfast abbey turbine

River Dart hydro scheme

Posted in News on Wednesday 4th January 2012 at 5:29am

WRE is currently installing another hydro scheme on the River Dart, immediately downstream from the first screw turbine on this river (installed by WRE, Castleford engineering and GP Electronics in 2006).  The system includes a fishpass and is the biggest flowrate turbine in the Dart system.  WRE is based at Old Walls on the West Webburn river which is the largest output hydro plant now in the Dart catchment, this plant when added to WRE designed and installed plants at Ashburton, Buckfast, Poundsgate and Dartington brings the installed capacity to around 230kW.  For some historical benchmark, around 1950 there was about 700kW of hydro on the Dart, but by 1980 this had dwindled to a small fraction of this, the current renaissance is therefore only partially regaining lost ground, and the total possible capacity is actually many megawatts, if as a society we were reasonably committed to hydro.

Summer Update

Posted in News on Friday 29th July 2011 at 4:22am

The low flows which have been evident all year have allowed WRE to make good progress on a number of sites, and we currently have over 250kW of sites under construction.  The WRE designed system at Mapledurham is developing well under the watchful eye of Greenfords, and the Rehart turbine will be delivered soon.  This is the largest flow of any screw turbine in the UK, and should be operating during October.  In addition WRE is working at two mill sites in Devon, one near Chagford and one near Dartmouth, with a capacity of around 30kW in total, both to be equipped with Ecowave crossflow machines.  A significant project at Buckfast Abbey on the Dart is just commencing, with the screw turbine recently ordered from Ritz-Atro for this site, and is the largest power output turbine from this company installed in the UK to date.

Coupled with this, a significant number of other sites are moving forward, meaning that whilst we will comission more capacity in 2011 than ever before, we are confident that 2012 will result in even more capacity

Peak District hydro scheme

Posted in News on Sunday 5th June 2011 at 4:57am

WRE has designed, installed and commissioned a 15kW hydro site which is the runs on 32m net head and 72 l/s. 

Exmoor high head system

Posted in News on Sunday 5th June 2011 at 4:53am

WRE has designed and is installing a Pelton based system generating over 20kW from 70m net head.  The system has a pipeline which is nearly 1km long but the whole system is expected to be almost unnoticable.

Dartmoor system

Posted in News on Sunday 5th June 2011 at 4:50am

WRE has commissioned a very small flow crossflow system at a local site in Devon.

Bainbridge hydro

Bainbridge community hydro

Posted in News on Sunday 5th June 2011 at 4:48am

Recently WRE has commissioned this 37kW site in the Yorkshire Dales.  It was designed by WRE for Water Power Enterprises, and has been completed to a very high standard by the team involved.

Rochdale interchange archimedean screw turbine

Rochdale hydro

Posted in News on Sunday 5th June 2011 at 4:45am

WRE has acted as lead consultant at this project.  WRE carried out the licensing and planning, and the tender for design and build was won by Spaans, who are about to deliver the system to client TFGM (formerly GMPTE)

Mapledurham Mill

Mapleduham Mill

Posted in News on Sunday 5th June 2011 at 4:36am

The 99kW scheme at Mapledurham mill is now underway, designed by WRE, with construction by Greenfords, and turbine from Rehart, supplied by UK agents MPCL.

WRE are recruiting!

Posted in News on Tuesday 17th May 2011 at 7:44pm

Owing to continued high demand for its services, the company is now seeking to recruit a civil engineer to fill a permanent post working within our small friendly team on hydro scheme design

For more information please email Mrs Yvette Elliott, Project Administrator on


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Leaves, leaves everywhere, and a lot of water to drink

Posted in News on Monday 15th November 2010 at 2:40pm

The eight hydro schemes which WRE regularly maintains for clients in Devon and Cornwall have been generating at maximum capacity recently, although these last few weeks have brought massive volumes of leaves and debris as well. This has meant extra work for the screening systems, but when there is so much water available it is important to keep output at maximum. It is good to see water levels up, after what has been a fairly dry early part of the year.

WRE’s directly employed construction team are just completing a system at Cotehele for the National Trust, and the good standard of finish required by the trust is evident on this site. We look forward to the handover, and adding the site to our list of operating sites. At the other end of the country, another scheme designed by WRE is taking shape. The Bainbridge hydro system in the Yorkshire Dales was designed by us, and is being built for the community based owning group by contractor A E Yates, with h2oPE as project managers. WRE looks forward to further involvement at this site in the new year. Elsewhere WRE are acting as lead consultant for a screw turbine project in Rochdale. The client, GMPTE, is developing a new transport interchange, and WRE has developed the proposal for a turbine and fish pass at the site over the last eighteen months. The development is now under construction as a design and build project under the auspices of Spaans Babcock, with WRE regularly on site coordinating between the client and contractor. Meanwhile at sites from Dartmoor to the Peak District small systems are being installed, with the owners carrying out much of the actual construction, with WRE designing it, and installing the powerhouse equipment under the MCS process.

These projects demonstrate that WRE is able to help clients in a range of professional roles, from design and construction with our in house team, to complete system design with construction put to tender, or high level coordination of projects delivered via design and build methods.

Which is the best route to take mainly depends on the client, and there is a broad range in the industry, WRE believes that our independence and flexibility is a key benefit.

Autumn Update

Posted in News on Saturday 30th October 2010 at 10:34pm

Hydro visit

Torrs Hydro, a 63kW system installed by WRE in 2008 was honoured to host a visit by Greg Barker (Minister for Climate Change) and the Regional Director for the Environment Agency on 28th October.  As well as visiting Torrs Hydro they visited the Co-op (powered by the system) before moving on to New Mills Town Hall for the Minister to formally announce ways in which the Government are going to help support community owned schemes like this.  There was wide coverage in the press.

Council Place

WRE senior engineer Chris Elliott was elected to the council of the British Hydropower Association at its recent AGM, and looks forward to pushing micro-hydro up the agenda.


Cotehele’s new hydro system is nearing completion, the turbine was run for the first time last week, and should be generating in the coming week.

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October Updates

Posted in News on Friday 1st October 2010 at 2:45pm


WRE is pleased to announce it is now listed as an MCS transition installer, and this allows us to design and install systems to receive the Feed-In-Tariff, and as such we will fully commission three schemes in the next month.  Sub-50kW systems designed or installed by a non-MCS installer will not be eligible for the FIT.

Installations Update

WRE has recently ordered a second turbine from Ecowave Systems, a crossflow turbine to operate on 25m head on a site on Dartmoor, which should be generating in December.  This system is designed by WRE.

Screening Equipment

We have also supplied further Coanda type screens, as well as gaining future orders for more.  We have recently sold 10mm screening systems to fellow hydropower system designers Renewables First and Highland Eco Design for low head sites, and are about to start delivery of similar systems to the 6mm standard sometimes requested by the EA.

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WRE Fundraising Success

Posted in News on Wednesday 15th September 2010 at 1:34pm

WRE recently entered a team into a sponsored ‘Daredevil Challenge’ for the charity Devon Community Foundation, raising nearly £500 for this good cause.  Well done to all involved.

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August Updates

Posted in News on Thursday 12th August 2010 at 9:19pm

As so often, whilst the summer brings mixed weather for tourists in the Westcountry, WRE is hard at work making use of the drier weather to carry out construction of hydro schemes.  We are working at two sites, one for the National Trust, is just starting, and another for a private client is moving toward completion.

The private client has carried out most of the works himself, with WRE doing design and specification of the system, and fitting and commissioning the system.  The turbine is a very neat and compact machine from Ecowave Systems, which has been specified as it offered a small and quiet machine, at a good price from a UK supplier.  Pleasingly the delivery was relatively fast, and we will report on the performance of this model, as it is the first from this manufacturer that we have installed.

The National Trust site is at Cotehele in Cornwall, and despite wet ground conditions and difficult access (as ever), progress is good.  WRE has designed and gained licenses for this site, and is doing all the installation and commissioning, in the coming months. This system uses a sturdy JLA turbine.

Further work for the National Trust is continuing, with progress on sites in the Westcountry, hopefully which will lead to installation in 2011/12.

Work for later in the year covers Screw, Crossflow and Pelton systems, with potentially hundreds of kW of installed capacity following in the next 12 months.

Look out for the website updates shortly.

News Round-up

Posted in News on Wednesday 17th March 2010 at 10:05pm

Feed in Tariff update

The Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) is close to becoming law, and it is likely that it will be a requirement of all systems that they will need to be designed and installed by Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) approved installers, using approved equipment.

The aim of the MCS is to provide consumer protection for schemes under 50kW output, in what is a fast developing market.  There has been some degree of resistance within the hydro community since many schemes are typically built with some owner input, but if approached carefully this can still be the case.

WRE expects to enter the MCS scheme at its launch in the next few weeks, and has been accepted onto the REAL assurance scheme, which is a requirement.  We are expecting to be installing approved schemes from the start of April.

We believe that the MCS scheme should provide consumer confidence, and it will be important that when looking at designing a hydro system you use an approved, professional firm from feasibility study onwards.


WRE is now offering more high quality screening equipment.  In addition to the automatic screeners which are being used increasingly for old mill sites, we are now manufacturing ‘Coanda’ type wedge wire screens, for high head schemes with small flows.  These are ideal as they require no power, are robust and long lasting.  Prices start from £1250 (+VAT) for a 20 l/s version.

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We are also manufacturing interface equipment to work with the popular SCS HGP hydro controller.  This is typically used to operate hydraulic systems where large flow control equipment is needed, such as in low head systems.  Email us for a quote.


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WRE has completed work at a site in Devon where a single jet Pelton machine has been installed.  It is operating as expected, and producing absolutely at the top end of the design expectations of energy capture.

WRE has recently placed orders for two more hydro systems for installation in 2010, a Screw turbine for a site in East Devon and a crossflow machine for another old mill site in Mid-Devon.

The screw turbine system has been under development for some time, owing to difficulties in licensing, but this will now be delivered in June.  The system is a conventional concrete-trough screw turbine, with a number of design tweaks to boost efficiency.  WRE is the largest installer of Screw turbines in the UK, and is not tied to any manufacturer, meaning we are free to recommend the best machine for the job.

The crossflow turbine is our first order from UK manufacturer Ecowave, who have been able to commit to an MCS approved machine in a short lead time.  The system will use 85 l/s on a 5 metre head, and should also be operating by mid-summer.

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BBC Report

Posted in News on Friday 26th February 2010 at 11:41pm

WRE completed work at Dartington Tweed Mill last year; recently the BBC reported briefly on the site, which shows the simple nature of the adaptations.  The reporter talking to Dr Jon Rae from the Dartington Hall Trust is able to carry out his interview with almost no need to raise his voice, despite being right alongside to gearbox with the machine in operation.  The report is found at, with the video at the bottom.

We have also confirmed the start of installation work at two further sites, a crossflow turbine for the National Trust, and a screw turbine for a private client, both to be running by mid 2010.

WRE Looks Forward to a Busy 2010

Posted in News on Friday 15th January 2010 at 11:26pm

2010 has started briskly for WRE, with many projects progressing.  WRE has recently been appointed to carry out detailed design on a number of sizable and high profile hydro systems and has a further 7 abstraction applications submitted, ranging from 70 l/s to nearly 7000 l/s, and many schemes either formally submitted to planning or close to being so.  WRE has recently commissioned a community hydro scheme for Settle Hydro, via our ongoing relationship with Water Power Enterprises.  In addition to the planned installation work for the year, which will cover Pelton, Crossflow and Screw Turbine systems, WRE has taken on work for upgrade and maintenance work on a number of existing hydro schemes in the South West of England.

WRE continues to contribute to industry panels on the Feed In Tariff, and looks forward to the formal announcements on the level of support in the next few weeks.

Merry Christmas from WRE

Posted in News on Friday 18th December 2009 at 5:39pm

The WRE office will be closed from 5pm on Wednesday 23rd December and re-opens on Monday 4th January.

We wish you a very happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

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Work Experience Testimonial

Posted in News on Thursday 29th October 2009 at 8:35pm

I had just completed my degree in Mechatronics and asked WRE for some work experience.  In the 6 weeks of work experience, I have seen a huge variety of engineering work.

I was on site for 3 weeks, where I helped with the construction of a fish pass, maintenance of a launder, water wheel and weir.  I also saw the installation of the gearbox, generator and control system.  The other half of my time was spent in the office where I helped out with design work, including AutoCAD and SketchUp.  I found this work experience excellent because I saw how a project is completed from design to commissioning.

The staff at WRE are very enthusiastic about micro hydro and are excellent people to work for.  They were very welcoming and allowed me to see all areas of micro hydro engineering.  The work was very interesting and all the staff were very helpful with any questions I had.

I was interested in the area of micro hydro before I started my work experience with WRE and now on completing this, I am even more interested in this area and hope to work in this industry in the future.

Kevin Smith

Autumn Developments

Posted in News on Wednesday 28th October 2009 at 1:37am

WRE completed the harnessing of the Dartington Hall Trust’s waterwheel in early October, shown below is the shaft coupling, gearbox and generator.  This is now generating power for the buildings, whist retaining the interesting historic feature of the wheel.  Whilst it is typically most sensible to replace such a wheel, since it had been maintained in good condition, it seemed logical to retain it and fit with a gearbox.  It is shown below before fitment of safety guarding.

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Work is also underway at what is likely to be the last installation of 2009, a small Pelton type turbine running off a healthy 55m of gross head.  WRE have carried out all design and licensing and are manufacturing Coanda type screening for the intake.  Dependant on delivery times, generation will commence just before or after the New Year.

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Fish Pass in Operation

Posted in News on Friday 18th September 2009 at 9:39pm

In good time for the migration season, the repair works to Dartington Weir are complete, and the first fish are returning to the pools.  The wheel will soon be back to work, generating power for the fist time in many decades.

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Fish Pass Rebuild

Posted in News on Wednesday 2nd September 2009 at 9:39pm

One current project being undertaken by WRE engineers is the repair of a fish pass on a tributary of the River Dart in south Devon.  In addition to winning the contract to repair and put the mill’s waterwheel back to work generating electricity, WRE negotiated the licenses and carried out the redesign of the fish pass.  This will repair bypassed and washed out sections of the structure, as well as improving water depths and easing fish movement.  This site is a small ex-mill site, and the fish pass work is a worthwhile improvement to fish passage, at modest cost, as well a protecting the adjacent A385 main road.  All works will be completed for the upstream migrants to use at the end of September.  Part of the existing structure is shown below after dewatering.

Rehart Installation

Posted in News on Monday 22nd June 2009 at 12:11pm

WRE has installed the country’s first Rehart screw turbine.  The building works were carried by a local firm, and WRE is responsible for the installation and commissioning of the machine.  The small machine is fitted within an existing pump house, which required careful use of crane and manual lifting gear to fit under the roof.  Commissioning has not yet occurred, as the intake and outfall need to be connected, as well as restoration of the carefully dismantled wall of the pump house.  Once this has occurred, the system will start generating power.

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WRE Appeal Success

Posted in News on Wednesday 10th June 2009 at 9:59pm

WRE Ltd has today learned that it has been successful in appealing against an abstraction license issued last year.

The license as granted was for less than 50% of the volume applied for, and this made the project uneconomic. However, it was felt that a balanced decision was not made, and so WRE decided to appeal to test the policy.

In issuing directions to the EA to grant the license substantially as applied for, the inspector noted:

“Benefits for renewable energy of setting a Hands Off Flow at Q95 and allowing a higher maximum rate of flow are direct and clear… the case for a more restrictive approach has leant heavily on arguments about up river migration of Salmon and Sea Trout.  However linkage between facilitating up river migration with restricting water abstraction on the basis of hands off flow and through a limit on maximum flow is neither direct nor clear”

“Balancing a situation producing clear and identifiable benefits for generation of renewable energy against an alternative which has putative but not clearly defined benefits for up stream migration, my judgement comes down firmly in favour of the position taken in the original application.”

The inspector continues “while I have been provided with a copy of the as yet unpublished draft Good Practice Guidelines, in view of the way the BHA has distanced itself from the contents, the weight that I attach to it is limited.”  He referred to the EA’s application of these guides in this case as “a bludgeon: by that I mean an over-weight instrument, likely to have a poorly directed and uncertain effect”.

We are very pleased with the outcome and look forward to realizing the full potential of this site.

High Head Licenses Issued

Posted in News on Saturday 23rd May 2009 at 7:17pm

WRE has continued to secure further Abstraction Licenses for small hydro schemes.  Two new licenses issued this week will allow planning of schemes to move to the next phase; these sites include a small site with 50m of head, which emphasises how WRE work with all sizes and types of micro-hydro equipment.  Installation at this site will be lead by the site owner, to construction drawings from WRE.  We will also supply and install all powerhouse equipment.

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Another Commissioned System

Posted in News on Saturday 23rd May 2009 at 6:28pm

WRE has recently commissioned a new hydro system on Dartmoor.  The site is typical of the myriad of small mill sites which once dotted the country, and most of which are not currently harnessing the latent power available.  The site has been installed as a joint effort between the site owner and WRE.  Our input has been in specifying, supplying and installing fish and debris screening, as well as all aspects of the electrical and mechanical equipment.  The 5.5kW system has generated power, and awaits only a few finishing touches to the old leat system before full switch-on.

WRE is close to launching a new programme aimed specifically aimed at small mill sites, which suffer from high costs when a conventional bespoke design process is used.  WRE has the experience to offer ‘standard technical packages’ for a range of sites which will guarantee depth and quality of the design, as well as reducing uncertainty and total costs.  We will launch the HEADstart package in the next few weeks.

More Confirmed Projects for 2009

Posted in News on Wednesday 11th February 2009 at 2:02pm

WRE has placed an order for the first Rehart turbine in England.  The Compact Enclosed type screw turbine will be installed later in the summer on a small site with only 1.4m of head.  This location would, until recently, have been seen as both technically and economically unfeasible.

WRE continues to work with screw manufacturer Ritz-Atro, having gained a contract to commission a well publicised community project at Settle in North Yorkshire, which uses a machine from this company.

Other new installations which are planned for 2009 include a small crossflow machine for Morden Mill at the National Trust’s Cothele estate.  This will form a development of the historic use of waterpower on the site, and the work has been awarded despite another hydropower consultancy carrying out the feasibility study.  WRE were able to guarantee a system with a shorter lead time and at a lower cost.  The project is expected to be generating during November 2009.

Happy New Year

Posted in News on Thursday 8th January 2009 at 8:28pm

2009 looks set to be another busy year for Western Renewable Energy, with various hydro schemes progressing through the design and licensing phases and reaching the construction period.  We also have many new sites to investigate across the country.

We are now working from a new, larger office at Old Walls to allow the company to continue expanding with the market and accommodate the larger workforce required to design and manage our ongoing schemes dealing with up to 10 cumecs of water.

Award Nomination

Posted in News on Friday 26th September 2008 at 4:00pm

The hydro-electric scheme and fish pass designed and installed by WRE Ltd at New Mills has been nominated for an award by the Environment Agency as an example of complimentary work between two industries often see as having potentially opposing objectives. The Wild Trout Trust Conservation Award 2008 recognises and encourages excellence in the growing field of wild trout habitat management and conservation, and celebrates the efforts, ingenuity and imagination of those involved.

Archimedean Screw Turbine now Fully Operational

Posted in News on Friday 5th September 2008 at 4:00pm

Commissioning has taken place at New Mills, Derbyshire and the Archimedean Screw turbine is now fully operational after 6 months of construction by WRE Ltd.

The completed project can be compared to the original artist’s impression, which was drawn prior to commencement of the construction phase.

See the local press report for more information.

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New Turbine Order

Posted in News on Wednesday 3rd September 2008 at 4:00pm

Following the success of the JLA crossflow turbine at Ugbrooke, WRE Ltd has just placed an order for another, larger machine for a new client in Devon, which will be delivered in April 2009.

BBC Recognition

Posted in News on Thursday 28th August 2008 at 4:00pm

River Dart Country Park green credentials recognised – see the article on the BBC news website.

Third Archimedean Screw for WRE

Posted in News on Thursday 3rd July 2008 at 4:00pm

The third Archimedean Screw to be installed by WRE Ltd has now been ordered, and installation begins in May 2009 at Ilchester, Somerset.

Torrs Hydro, New Mills

Posted in News on Thursday 13th March 2008 at 4:00pm

WRE Ltd is currently engaged in an exciting new project to install an Archimedean Screw Turbine on the River Goyt at New Mills, High Peak. Please see our case study for more information.

DEBI Award

Posted in News on Thursday 22nd November 2007 at 5:00pm

The River Dart Country Park wins the DEBI Award in their Renewable Energy category.

Water Power Enterprises

Posted in News on Wednesday 7th November 2007 at 5:00pm

WRE Ltd is working with water power enterprises on a number of low head hydro schemes throughout Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Water Power Enterprises has recently received planning permission for their scheme at New Mills, High Peak, on the river Goyt. Construction is expected to start in earnest in March 2008.

The Archimedean Screw Turbine

Posted in News on Monday 1st October 2007 at 4:00pm

The Archimedean screw turbine at Ashburton, installed in 2006/2007 by Western Renewable Energy, Castleford Engineering and GP Electronics has been shortlisted for two green energy awards, the Devon Environmental Business Initiative (DEBI Awards) and the Regen South West awards.