Co-op goes green with hydro store

The Co-operative Group is hoping to cement its green reputation with the launch of what it claims is the country's first micro hydro-powered store.

Already exponents of solar and wind power, The Co-operative Group is now powering its food store in New Mills, Derbyshire from the fast-flowing waters of the river Goyt.

The micro-hydro installation is forecast to produce 240,000kWh of green electricity a year, taking into account seasonal variations in water level - enough to power over 50% of the 7,340sq ft store's electricity needs.

The micro-hydro electricity project in New Mills is the first in the country to be owned and funded by local people though a unique share scheme, which has led to the community forming an Industrial and Provident Society for the benefit of the community.

Chris Shearlock, sustainable development manager at The Co-operative Group, said: "We are very proud to be taking our climate change agenda to new levels by adding micro-hydro power to our strong track record on renewable energy.

"The Co-operative Group was one of first major businesses to recognise the need to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption in order to help tackle climate change. The Group was the first major retailer to purchase green electricity in 1997 and now obtains 99% of its electricity from renewable sources.

"In addition to buying the hydro electricity for our food store in New Mills, The Co-operative's family of businesses have worked together to support the innovative scheme, with a grant from The Co-operative Fund to help with the establishment of community ownership and The Co-operative Bank helping with commercial finance. We are also planning to extend this support to further micro-hydro schemes across the country."

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