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Hopes to harness the power of the river

ABID to the National Lottery has highlighted Frome’s potential to generate a substantial amount of electricity from the river which runs through the town.

Although Frome’s shortlisted bid for a £1million ‘Sustainable Communities’ grant was unsuccessful, the foundation work in preparing the application has helped bring organisations together and look at the possibilities for the future of the town.

Cheese and Grain manager Steve Macarthur says, “It was an audacious bid, but the work is extremely useful. One of the things we discovered is the potential capacity to generate an enormous amount of electricity from the river.

“Frome already has one mill that is making a substantial profit – it paid its carbon debt in 18 months and after three years had recovered the costs of setting it up.”

Without the support of the Lottery grant, Frome now needs to consider how to move forward with the idea. Steve said, “We now have to find out how to get it all started. There needs to be business plans and there will be lots of complications like who owns river banks. We’re not going to drop it, but it will be a case of having to find and persuade investors, whether this is the town council, private investors, or shares to the people of Frome.

“It’s totally proven technology, and would make an excellent investment. We have our solar panels [at the Cheese and Grain], but water power is much better. While you need sunshine for solar panels you can get money from a water mill 24/7, 365 days a year. The potential is huge.”

Steve would welcome ideas and offers of help to move the project forward, and you can contact him at the Cheese and Grain on 01373 455768.