Bristol Community Hydro Scheme

by Bristol Energy Cooperative in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 6th December 2019 we successfully raised £31,505 with 412 supporters in 153 days

To build an urban community hydro-electric scheme to benefit the environment and the local economy.

by Bristol Energy Cooperative in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

The second Crowdfunder target of £30,000 is to enable further development work to proceed as soon as possible. Money raised above this target will reduce the target for subsequent raises. 

If more than £65,000 in total is raised, excess funds will be deployed in the construction phase to reduce overall project costs.

Clean Energy in Central Bristol

Bristol Energy Cooperative has been installing green energy in Bristol since 2012. Our latest project is a hydro-electric scheme at Netham Weir in the heart of commercial Bristol.

With climate change posing a greater threat than ever, this will contribute to Bristol’s 2030 carbon neutrality target. 

Taking Us to Construction-Ready

The first phase of Crowdfunding raised £18,000 and enabled further development work to proceed such as fitting of a level gauge in the river. The second phase aims to increase the fundraise total to £30,000 allowing the project to progress to the tendering stage through completion of the following work:

  • Detailed river flow studies, including analysis of river level data from the new level gauge.
  • Signing off the detailed fish pass design with the Environment Agency.
  • Detailed construction drawings needed for tendering the main contract.
  • Taking two European grant applications to the next stage (not Brexit dependent!) 
  • Investigating the best financial instruments for the main fund raise.

When all development works are completed, the project will open to investors for a main raise of approximately £2m to fund the construction costs. As a contributor to this crowdfund, you will have the first opportunity to invest in the scheme at construction phase.

Bringing Proven Technology to Bristol

Netham Weir will be a micro hydro power station, an increasingly popular technology across the UK and internationally. It uses the natural force of the water falling across the weir to spin a turbine, without the need for building a large reservoir. 

The project will use existing tried and trusted twin Archimedes screw turbine technology with a combined 300kW output, enough to power 250 typical homes. The scheme will run night and day throughout the year, with peak output in winter.

Bristol Energy Coop, Energy Installers Since 2012

Bristol Energy Coop has been building community owned renewable energy schemes since 2012 and currently generates 9 million kWh (units) of electricity per year, enough to power 2,200 typical homes.

The Coop currently operates solar PV arrays on buildings across Bristol and surrounding areas along with 2 solar farms. A mixture of energy sources is required to replace fossil fuels and the Coop is using its experience to bring hydro power to Bristol.

£11 million has been so far been invested in the Coop’s various projects, much by local people and businesses. More than £250,000 of profits has so far been distributed to local  community projects. More information can be found at 

Surviving Without Government Subsidies

The government has closed down the Feed In Tariff scheme (FiTs) which supported new renewable energy installations like this hydro scheme. However, this doesn’t have to stop the roll-out of new green energy and the Coop is determined to demonstrate that new renewable energy projects are still financially feasible. This will be the Coop’s first large energy project without FiTs and probably the first such hydro scheme in the UK for many years. 

With a Climate Emergency declared in Bristol, the Coop considers it important to progress this project and do so as quickly as is sensibly possible. Many more renewable energy schemes are necessary to achieve carbon neutrality and they will need to be developed under the prevailing economic conditions. The Coop is committed to using lessons learned from the Netham Weir scheme to keep the pipeline of community energy projects flowing.

Example of a similar sized hydro scheme

How it works

This crowdfunding is paying for the remaining development stages. It is being split into a series of smaller raises in order to keep development work progressing. The first Crowdfund round raised £18,352 against a target of £10,000. The second round target is to take this up to £30,000 and prepare the project for the construction stage. 

Any money raised above £30k will go towards a third phase of crowdfunding (if needed)  and/ or construction costs. If for any reason the hydro scheme does not get built (which is a possibility with any development), then any funds not already spent will be deployed in the development of other renewable schemes.

Many thanks for your support.

Bristol Energy Coop Team


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£10 or more

The minimum donation

All donors irrespective of the amount donated will: * have their name on a list of Netham Weir Community Hydro-Electric supporters * have first opportunity to invest in the hydro scheme at construction phase * receive the Bristol Energy Cooperative newsletter if not already doing so.

£25 or more

Grand Opening

Receive an invite to the Grand Opening

£50 or more

Hydro-electric Tour

Also receive invitation to a tour when the scheme is operational

£75 or more

Hydro Tour during construction

Also receive an invite to a tour of the hydro electric scheme during the construction phase.

£100 or more

Cutting the Ribbon

Also have your name put into a draw for cutting the ribbon at the opening.

£150 or more

Boat trip

Two places on a boat trip from the Docks to visit the hydro scheme.

£200 or more

Super Supporter

Will attract all the rewards above and give you an extra good feeling about significantly contributing to the success of the project.

£500 or more

Business sponsorship - Small businesses

Businesses can sponsor the hydro project and appear in Netham Weir Hydro publicity. Small businesses with turnover of less than £500k.

£2,500 or more

Business Sponsorship - Medium sized businesses

Businesses can sponsor the hydro project and appear in Netham Weir Hydro publicity. Businesses with turnover between £500k and £2.5m .

£5,000 or more

Business Sponsorship - Large businesses

Businesses can sponsor the hydro project and appear in Netham Weir Hydro publicity. Businesses with turnover of more than £2.5m.

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