A NEW £1.5 million ‘green’ energy scheme has turned a Furness stream into a mini power station, and is the biggest hydro-electric project in the Lake District.

The renewable energy sche-me, at Logan Gill, a tributary of the River Duddon, near Broughton-in-Furness, will provide electricity for hundreds of homes from a small weir on a mountain stream.

It involves a 60cm buried pipe running 1km downhill, and a small stone and slate barn housing the water turb-ine, and other generating equipment.

The hydro-electric project will provide enough energy to cater annually for 1,000 people, equivalent to the size of Grasmere, and will save 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

It is one of the first renewable energy schemes in the UK to benefit from the Government’s new ‘Clean Energy Cashback’ initiative, a scheme that allows energy suppliers to make regular payments to householders and communities who generate their own electricity from renewable, or low carbon, sources.

The development has been undertaken by Ellergreen Hydro, a start-up business founded by Mark Cropper, who is also chairman of Burneside paper manufacturer James Cropper plc; and Charles Crewdson, chairman of renewable energy manufacturer Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon, Kendal.

The project was financed by The Co-operative Bank.

In 2007, it ring-fenced £400 million specifically to fund the development of renewable energy and carbon reduction projects.

“Logan Gill is not only a 100 per cent UK plc project, but also a showcase of the superb know-how and technology that exists in this area of the country,” said Mr Cropper.

“The project was conceived and designed locally by specialist hydro consultants Inter Hydro, built by local contractors and, at its heart, we have installed a hydro-electric turbine made by Gilkes, who have been global hydro industry leaders for over 150 years.”

The success of the project has also been assured by the support given by other leading UK renewable ener-gy organisations.

The power generated at Logan Gill has been purchased by Good Energy, a leading renewable electricity supplier.

Juliet Davenport, founder and chief executive of Good Energy, said: “I’m very pleased that electricity from Logan Gill will be going to supply our customers who have chosen to buy certified renewable electricity.

“It is a fantastic example of home-grown energy.

“Small-scale renewable generators, like Logan Gill, are helping change the energy landscape in the UK as we shift from brown to green, and from big centralised power stations to thousands of small distributed renewable generators.”