It is that time of year again, when we start preparing for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ludlow Hydro Co-operative. Following the success of our virtual meeting last year and, mindful of the ongoing restrictions around Covid-19, our AGM will once again be hosted on Zoom. Sharenergy will be contacting Members with full details and joining instructions, shortly. In the meantime, to give our members as much notice as possible, we are happy to announce the AGM will be held on Friday 26th March, 2021 at 18:00.
A warm welcome to 2021 and the beginning of our sixth year of hydro-electric generation. The past year brought many challenges for the Ludlow Hydro Co-operative. Extreme flooding in February caused serious damage to our hydro plant. Then we had the challenges of Covid-19 restrictions while repair work got underway. Finally, there were unexpected technical issues to overcome before we were finally back up and running again. Thankfully from our member’s perspective, we had appropriate insurance in place to cover the repair work and loss of income. In fact, despite our electricity generation being out of operation for nearly five months in 2020, we nevertheless resumed normal operation by August and had a strong finish to the year. You will find the full calendar year generation figures freshly published on ‘The Scheme’ page of our website.
As we move into 2021, Anthony Schuster (Chairman of the Ludlow Hydro Co-operative), confirms: “Despite the challenges of 2020, we are optimistic of a strong year ahead in terms of hydro-electric generation for 2021. With all repair work successfully completed, we are back to normal operation, with renewed confidence that our plant is ready to deliver our quota of hydro power in the months ahead. In the meantime, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our Co-op Members, contractors and interested parties for their continued support and, to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!”
“The generator has now been rewound and reinstalled. Twice. It failed testing the first time, meaning it had to be removed and returned for further repair. The hydraulic brake motor has also had to be replaced, twice. Both were finally operational by the end of May, by which time the equipment in the control cabinet had also been given a clean bill of health.”
Although failure of the initial installations increased our team’s workload considerably, the remedial work was delivered while awaiting delivery of a vital component – replacement stop-logs (used for sound-proofing), from Germany. However, Clive and the team were able to put the time to good use:
“The downtime gave our team the opportunity to inspect the lower screw bearing and to change the oil there. This involved creating a dam and emptying the water from the screw enclosure, to allow access; the whole process taking two days. The replacement stop-logs eventually arrived in the middle of June and were installed the following week. This just left recalibration of the various water sensors, which were causing misleading information to be sent to the main controller. So, after a delay of over four months, we are finally back up and running once more, albeit slowly given the current lack of water in the river.”
Looking back at past data, you will see that July through to September are historically our quietest months when it comes to electricity generation. This is due to water levels in the river being lower throughout the summer period. However, we are sure you will share our relief that, after a busy few months of repair work activity, we are now once again fully operational. Many thanks for your continued interest and, for supporting the work of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative.
Over the past six weeks, our team have continued to work with contractors to bring about repairs to our hydro infrastructure and we are happy to report that this work is now nearing completion. Whilst Coronavirus lockdown has inevitably delayed proceedings, we have also had to cope with some technical set-backs along the way. However, with the further lifting of lockdown restrictions this week, we continue to anticipate the generator will be back online and resuming normal business activity, by the end of June.
In the meantime, we are pleased to report that our insurers have now paid out interim payments toward the repair work and in lieu of our lost income from business interruption, with a further final payment due shortly. With this in mind, we still anticipate being in a position to make a repayment of capital to our members later in the year, as per the motion carried at our recent AGM.
Please continue to stay safe in these difficult times and we will post further updates shortly, just as soon as our hydro generator resumes normal operation. Many thanks for your continued interest and, for supporting the work of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative.
With the UK now in the grip of Coronavirus lockdown, there have been inevitable delays to the assessment and repair of our hydro-electric generator, following the impact of flood damage earlier in the year. However, we are pleased to report that we have appropriate insurance policies in place and a small team of our LHC directors have been working tirelessly with the loss adjustor and associated contractors, to assess and repair the damage most expediently, whilst adhering to UK Government social distancing recommendations.
Dic Bickerton explains: “We have now removed both the main motor and the hydraulic brake motor from the generator bunker. These have been taken back to workshops, where they have been stripped down, inspected and contractors have provided us with the quotation for undertaking the repairs… We are expecting the reinstallation of these units during the first or second week in May. Contractors will then come to site to test and reconfigure the control cabinet and generator bunker.” In parallel to this, plans are also afoot to dredge the tail-race, to remove debris that has gathered there, under the force of the flood waters.
Our team are expecting to confirm a definite timeline for completion of the outstanding work, over the coming week, with the intention of resuming hydro-electric operation as soon as possible; realistically, this is likely to be at some point in June.
In other news, we are happy to confirm that the AGM of the Ludlow Hydro Co-operative was successfully delivered via audio conferencing on 25th March, as planned. All motions were successfully carried and Co-Op members should now be in receipt of their interest payments.
In light of rapidly changing global events, the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative Directors have been liaising closely with Sharenergy. We are pleased to announce that our forthcoming AGM will still go ahead next Wednesday (25/03/2020) but will now be run as a ‘virtual meeting’ using audio conferencing technology. By now, Members will have received communication from Sharenergy providing instruction on how to participate, noting that the proposed change of approach to our normal AGM is in response to UK Government advice on restricting public meetings and on adopting social distancing principles, in relation to the current Coronavirus pandemic.
We are pleased to confirm remedial plans continue to be worked on, to bring our hydro generation back online most expediently, following the impact of the significant flooding that recently occurred in Ludlow. In light of recent damage analysis, the hydro directors have issued the following joint statement to keep Members updated: “Our Hydro scheme was badly hit with damage to the motor enclosure and screw cover. The main control hut was spared major damage and should be relatively easy to re-commission. Our insurers have accepted liability for the inevitable claim for both business interruption (loss of income) and damage to the scheme. The directors are presently working with the loss adjuster to obtain quotes for works which is likely to take a few weeks before we can commence repairs. We now anticipate the hydro being out of action for a couple of months, subject to there being no restriction on availability of engineers.”
The impact of Storm Dennis was felt nationwide across the UK last weekend but here in Ludlow, the Environment Agency observed record water levels as the River Teme broke its banks, causing widespread flooding. Official figures indicate the river level peaked at 5.20m at Ludlow around 7pm on Sunday afternoon (16/02/2020); a period that carried a ‘Severe Flood Warning’ at Ludford, the location of our hydro-electric generator. With water levels higher than have been experienced locally since the great floods of 2007, it became inevitable that our hydro operation would be at risk.
We are pleased to report that proactive steps were taken to shutdown the generator plant and to limit the extent of any water damage. However, with water levels being so high, our team valiantly fought a losing battle with the river. At its peak, our hydro installation was completely submerged, the turbine room flooded and with water ingress to the lower part of our control room. Despite best endeavours we have lost (although may recover), many of the boards that protect the Archimedes Screw but otherwise things are very wet but seem intact.
Anthony Shuster, Chairman of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative, explains: “We are drying everything out and doing a full assessment with the help of our maintenance company. The hope is that no major damage has been done and that a good drying and cleaning will get us operational again but this is not guaranteed. We will keep all our members informed but we do not expect to be running again for several weeks. Our thoughts are with Clive and Denise, owners of the Mill House, as their home was also severely flooded.”
Further updates will be posted as soon as we have any news to share but, work is already underway to return the hydro generator to full operation, as soon as possible. In the meantime, many thanks for your continued interest and, for supporting the work of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative.
Working in collaboration with the Teme Weirs Trust, it gives us great pleasure to announce that today, we have replaced the riverside information board located opposite Ludford Mill, at Temeside in Ludlow. The new board builds on the good work of its predecessor but now includes information about the operation of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative. Why not stop and see it for yourself, the next time you are passing? In the meantime, here is a preview of the updated information panel:
In terms of other general news, we also have another significant update this month. Following feedback from our Co-Operative Members, it gives us great pleasure to launch a new website feature. The ‘Generation Counter’ uses a ‘Rev Counter’ to visually display the performance of our hydro-electric generation. It also captures the ‘Total KHw’ output as a numeric value, so you can easily keep track of our cumulative progress throughout the year. This is in addition to the ‘Generation Figures’ chart that we already update each month. The new performance indicators link to a live-feed and so update periodically throughout each day.
And finally, we must not forget to recognise the day-to-day management of the hydro-electric generator, which is the life-blood to the operation of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative. Our team are currently mobilising, in preparation for the next routine maintenance service, scheduled for early October. As such, don’t worry if you spot our generation output temporarily reduce whilst this work is underway – it is planned, routine, important work that will ensure the longevity of our hydro operation.
We hope you enjoy receiving our occasional news bulletins and don’t forget to visit the website from time to time, to check for further updates. In the meantime, many thanks for your continued interest and, for supporting the work of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative.
Over the past month, we’ve looked at ways to improve communication with visitors to our website – not just to our own members but also to other interested parties who may share an appreciation of renewable energy and in particular, our hydro scheme at Ludlow. With this in mind and to set expectations, here is a quick summary of our new and ongoing approach to web communication:
- Generation Figures – The online chart displaying our monthly hydro generation figures, is updated during the first couple of business working days, each calendar month.
- Membership Matters – Sharenergy will continue to contact our members individually via email on an ad hoc basis, with details about interest payments and capital repayment plans.
- Website Mailing List – Rather than expect you to regularly visit our website to check for news updates, we have introduced some automation to the process (as outlined below).
We are pleased to announce that the ‘Subscribe to mailing list’ feature has now been activated. Sharenergy originally ran this service for a short while during the feasibility stage of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative. As such, if you were an early subscriber, you may already be receiving our update alerts? However, the process has been closed to new subscribers for several years but has now been reinstated by Sharenergy. So, why not sign-up to receive notification of our occasional news updates? You will find the opt-in box below the ‘Latest News’ summary on this webpage.
Of course, we recognise that automation is not for everyone! As such, ad hoc visitors to our website are also always welcome – regardless of how you came to hear about us. With this in mind, we hope you enjoy the applied changes and we encourage you to use our new ‘Subscribe to mailing list’ service to ensure you are one of the first to receive our future news updates. Either way, don’t forget to visit the website from time to time, to check for further changes. Many thanks for your continued interest and, for supporting the work of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative.
A number of further significant changes have been made to our website over the past month. These have included a mixture of Phase 2 ‘business as usual’ revisions, along with some more complex and time consuming, preliminary Phase 3 updates:
- Home – Our Phase 2 ‘business as usual’ changes have included revisions to the 3D chart, bringing it up-to-date with our latest hydro-electric generation statistics.
- The Scheme – For quick and comparative reference, additional charts have been created which map our hydro-electric generation on a year-by-year basis.
- Gallery – A new online gallery has been created, initially containing circa 50 photographs that showcase the construction phase of our hydro infrastructure.
- About Us – This page has been updated to include more historical background information about the settlement of Ludford; the physical home of our hydro-plant.
- Downloads – Further ‘Additional Related-Interest Information Links’ have been added to this page, to widen the appeal of our website and its content.
Over the coming months, we will continue to update the hydro generation chart with our monthly renewable energy outputs. In addition to this, we will also be working on the feasibility plans for some further, more complex and aspirational updates to the website. If these subsequently come to fruition, they will form a continuation of our Phase 3 updates, for ad hoc delivery sometime in the future.
In the meantime, once again, we hope you enjoy the applied changes and don’t forget to visit the website from time to time, to check for further updates. Many thanks for your continued interest and, for supporting the work of the Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative.