Eaton Socon Hydro

In January 2018 construction started on the very first commercial VETT installation on the River Great Ouse at Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire, UK. VerdErg set to designing a 30kW VETT scheme for Eaton Socon Hydro Limited to exploit the 1.4m head between the marina and mill pond through a disused underground culvert which was used for hydropower generation until mid-20thcentury.

 
Artist’s Impression of VETT hydro Scheme at River Mill, Eaton Socon

A key design criterion was ensuring the VETT unit could integrate into the infrastructure of the Grade II listed mill (converted into the River Mill, a beautiful pub and restaurant) whilst preserving the historic and leisure amenity of the site. This was achieved by installing all components below ground in a submerged turbine house. From stakeholder discussions with the Environment Agency it became evident that any scheme would also have to be installed and operated in a way that protects the juvenile coarse fish nursery areas in the marina and mill pond and accommodate eel passage. Previous live trials already showcased VETT’s safe fish passage credentials and careful eel passage design will open up this stretch of the catchment to migrating eels.

 
Restoration of the existing culvert that will feed the turbine chamber

The River Great Ouse is a navigable stretch of river which is also prone to flooding so it was important to coordinate the management of water levels by the Environment Agency’s sluice at Eynesbury Weir with this hydro scheme. A control system and an operating approach agreed with the Environment Agency ensures that the hydrological parameters could be real-time monitored to achieve this.

 After the feasibility and detailed design phase in 2017, all regulatory consents had been received by January 2018 and Greenford Ltd was appointed to undertake the civil construction phase of the build. Construction is still underway and the scheme is due to be commissioned in the summer of 2018. The scheme will generate the equivalent of powering 40 homes and reduces carbon emissions in the area by 61t. It will supply the River Mill pub with electricity and any excess will be exported to the grid. This goes a long way in contributing to the low carbon agenda of the borough and will be the start of a promising future for VETT in the hydro sector.

We will update this page once construction is completed.


Construction of the submerged turbine chamber adjacent to River Mill pub


Installation of steel frame from which the VETT pipe will be suspended


Delivery of VETT pipe sections