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Walker Morris advises on the largest river hydroelectric project in Yorkshire

Specialist lawyers advise Barn Energy on ambitious renewable energy plant

Lawyers from the Energy Team at Walker Morris have advised Barn Energy on the largest river hydroelectric project in Yorkshire. The ambitious £5.3m Kirkthorpe renewable power scheme on the River Calder, near Wakefield was officially opened on 13 March 2017 by Sir John Armitt, Deputy Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission.

The innovative hydroelectric power plant is the largest to be commissioned in England since the start of the century and will generate enough electricity to supply 800 homes.

Specialist energy and real estate lawyers from Walker Morris worked as part of a team comprising over 100 people, many from companies based in Yorkshire and the north of England, to complete the project. The names of the people involved, have been inscribed on a commemorative stone, in recognition of their contribution to the delivering the project, which was developed on time and on budget.

The Walker Morris team comprised Ben Sheppard from the Energy, Infrastructure & Government Team and Judith Pike and Kathryn Brook from the Real Estate Team.

Walker Morris commented:

“There has never been a greater need to develop clean, renewable and sustainable energy plants. The Barn Energy hydroelectric power scheme is exemplary of the types of projects that are so important to provide clean energy for future generations and is a good example of our ability to deliver energy and energy efficiency projects across a broad scale.

“We have been delighted to be part of the team that helped the project to come fruition and look forward to working on similar projects in the future.”

In developing Kirkthorpe, the project team worked closely with Wakefield Council, the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust (the scheme abstracts water from the Canal & River Trust’s Aire & Calder Navigation) to ensure that there were no detrimental impacts from the project. As part of the project, a custom-designed passage and screen has been built to enable salmon, eels and other migratory fish to safely navigate the hydro scheme.

Mark Simon, Chief Executive of Barn Energy said:

“Kirkthorpe is a significant and long-term investment in Yorkshire’s energy infrastructure and all credit must go to those involved in its design and construction.   Kirkthorpe delivers clean and sustainable energy to local homes and businesses and will further improve the quality of the River Calder for future generations to come.  

“The development of Kirkthorpe has benefited from the support of many groups and individuals in particular our shareholders, Wakefield Council, the Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency and local angling clubs.

“Kirkthorpe and its two sister projects in Yorkshire are pioneering examples for the Government’s much vaunted Northern Powerhouse. With government support, we would develop more hydro projects in Yorkshire and in other parts of the country.”

Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said:

“We’re delighted the Kirkthorpe Hydropower Scheme is up and running, providing a sustainable renewable energy source across the district. By utilising this we can help to reduce carbon emissions, protect the local environment and provide reliable, clean energy for future generations.”