Coldstream examines hydroelectric scheme

The outlet tunnel mouth from the Tweed into the lade at the old Coldstream mill
The outlet tunnel mouth from the Tweed into the lade at the old Coldstream mill

The first step in using the power of the Tweed and Leet to create electricity for Coldstream is the feasibility study that is currently underway.

Coldstream Community Trust has successfully applied for a grant for the study which is looking at the possibility of re-opening the old mill lade that ran from near The Lees bothy to the mill at the end of the old Leet Bridge at the west of the town.

Coldstream lade as it is at present

Coldstream lade as it is at present

The lade fed a substantial corn mill with a water wheel until th first hald of the 20th century and a lot of the infrastructure is still in place.

Consultants Green Cat Renewables Ltd have been appointed to carry out the work and they recently visited the site with trust members, and adjoining landowners.

James Tweddle, Coldstream Community Trust treasurer, who is leading the project, said: “The two key riparian landowners have both been consulted at an early stage and have expressed enthusiasm for the project. They wish to be actively involved in the development.

“The first key step is to assess whether there is enough power in the system to make for a viable project; the potential power available is a function of the ‘fall’ of water from the ‘head’ at the Tweed inlet, and the outlet which would be at the lowest practical point to the Tweed/Leet confluence, together with the volume of water that can pass through the re-developed mill lade.

The lade inlet from the Tweed

The lade inlet from the Tweed

“There is a minimum figure below which the system could not be commercially viable - and the prime objective of this first pre-feasibility study is to calculate the power available and the likely output generated.

“If feasible the plan would be to link the system to the National Grid with the trust being paid for the energy it produces in the same way as turbine operators are paid.

“It may be that the whole idea is pie-in-the-sky and there’s not enough power to make a successful project - and planners, River Tweed authorities, council, SEPA and the town will need to be consulted - but it has been fun getting this far and a great deal of local history and geography has been learnt about this once valuable and important part of Coldstream life.”

If anyone can remember the mill working or has more information about it, the trust would be delighted to hear from you. Contact them on 885992 or james@jamesandbeth.com

Coldstream lade inlet house

Coldstream lade inlet house

Site of the old Coldstream watermill

Site of the old Coldstream watermill