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Derwent Hydro

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Small scale Hydro projects in the UK

A lot of the time, we associate sustainability and sustainable solutions with scientific developments and discoveries. While this may often be the case, this is not wholly accurate; it is possible to work with what’s readily available too! Hydropower is one such case, with the first examples coming into view as early as 200 BC, with water wheels used for crop irrigation and later powering flour and textile mills. The motion of water flowing through them creates kinetic energy, producing hydropower which can be used to power machinery or be converted into electricity. With the natural and physical resources to harness it, this is a source able to support the UK’s energy transition to renewables.

At Castle Drogo, Devon, the National Trust (supported by Derwent Hydroelectric Power Ltd) undertook a restoration project in 2017 which sought to restore the existing turbines in the River Teign. Precautions were taken to protect the river’s biodiversity, and now the visitor centre is powered by hydroelectricity, with any excess used to heat the estate. This redirection of energy minimises waste while also limiting the site’s reliance on biomass and other energy sources which are less self-subsisting.

Derwent Hydro have a long history and experience in smaller-scale projects, with an emphasis on adapting to the different constraints and needs of the sites they are involved in. As such, the turbine system at Castle Drogo (among others) include screening systems and chutes to allow the safe passage of the many species that can be found within the river there.

© Derwent Hydroelectric Power Ltd


28 Years Of Experience In Small Hydropower (no date) Derwent Hydroelectric Power Ltd. Available at: (Accessed: December 21, 2022).

Bellis, M. (2019) The history of the Water Wheel. ThoughtCo. Available at: (Accessed: December 22, 2022).

Hydroelectricity: Climate change (no date) National Trust. Available at: (Accessed: December 21, 2022).


Works with historic infrastructure to preserve history

Part of the National Trust’s Renewable Energy Investment Programme

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UK, England



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