Hydro Plant celebrates 40 years service

Manx Utilities’ Sulby Hydro-electric station is celebrating a milestone of service to the Island. 

The renewable energy power station located in the Tholt-y-Will quarry has been helping the Isle of Man play its role in addressing climate change for 40 years. 

The station comprises two turbines that were commissioned in 1981 and 1983 and since that time have produced more than 120 Gigawatt hours (120 million kWh) of sustainable energy for the Island. 

The equivalent diesel generation would require 30 million litres of fuel or around 1,500 road tanker deliveries which would produce 80,000 tonnes of CO2emissions.In an average year, the station contributes over 3 Gigawatt hours of energy to the Manx grid which is enough to power 1,000 homes.   

The majority of this energy is consumed by commercial customers who have an operational model which requires the use of green energy.The station is fed utilising the top four metres of water from Sulby reservoir during the winter period and in spring that is reduced to the first metre to help protect the Island’s drinking water stock for the drier months of the year. 

The station runs two 600 kilowatt water turbines which are monitored and controlled remotely by engineers or from the central control room within Pulrose Power Station, to ensure full availability, when required.

Chairman of Manx Utilities, Tim Baker MHK said: “Climate Change is a top priority for Government and Manx Utilities are playing a leading part in helping our Island to transition away from fossil fuels and embrace renewable generation, whilst ensuring we continue to maintain security of supplies for our customers. The UK-IOM power interconnector, the gas fired power station and the Sulby Hydro station have all contributed hugely to the reduction of the Island’s carbon footprint.  The hydro station will contribute to our ‘sustainable smarter living’ future plans, and I would like to pay tribute to our water and electricity teams who provide both locally sourced green energy and high quality water supplies to our customers.” 

In addition to the Sulby Hydro station, a turbine at Sulby Water Treatment Works has been reducing energy consumption since commissioning in 2013.  The water turbine on site generates approximately 40% of the electricity required to treat water at the plant.

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