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Investors can buy a maximum of 20,000 shares or a minimum of 250, and there is one vote per shareholder, however large or small their stake is. The shares are non transferable and there is no dividend, though the scheme does pay interest, which is anticipated to be around 4% a year from the second year of the scheme.

Enterprise Investment Scheme status has also been granted, so anyone investing more than 500 can apply for 30 per centtax relief.

Better still, there was already some electrical infastructure to power United Utilities' equipment, so there was a link to the National Grid.

Most hydro electric developments are located on rivers, but Saddleworth should be more efficient and reliable as it has a consistent supply of water from the reservoir and is not Nike Mens Coats

"Even though water moves more slowly than wind, it can generate much more energy around 1,000 times more for the same amount of volume.

The idea was first floated in 2008, partly as a reaction against a proposed Nike Mens Hoodie Grey wind power scheme on the moors which attracted considerable local opposition and was eventually abandoned.

The total cost of the project is estimated at 343,000, of which the steering group has already Nike Tech Fleece Crew

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The water coming through the pipeline at the foot of the dam wall is also under pressure from the weight of water above it, so it has more energy to power the turbine.

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A pooled resource that provides power to the people

Any profit beyond that will go to community projects that also promote sustainable energy, such as solar panels for community buildings or educational projects at local schools.

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reliant on rainfall.

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Now the local community has joined forces to harness the power of the reservoir which is nestled in the moors above the village of Greenfield by building a hydroelectric power scheme.

Water is channeled through a pipeline and through a generator roughly the size, and about as noisy, as a lorry engine, which will be housed underground.

Mr Bywater knew that there was anexisting pipeline leading water from the reservoir into the River Thame where he speculated a turbine could be installed.

Already 30,000 1 shares have been bought, with the average investor buying around 1,000, and the offer closes in April.

He said: "We began to look for a better alternative to the wind farm.

"So if you want to do your bit for the environment, this is a very cost effective way of doing it."

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That leaves 120,000 to be raised via a share placing with investors, which was launched in December.

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Bill Edwards is a founding director of the group, which has around 20 active members.

While there are other river powered community hydro power projects in England, this will be the first to be powered from a reservoir.

Dovestones Reservoir, which is owned and operated by United Utilities, was created in 1967 to supply water to the local area, and is also a popular tourist attraction.

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so Saddleworth Community Hydro was born.

"In Saddleworth, water is much more significant than wind. There are more than 20 reservoirs in the area.

Fellow director Tony Bywater was familiar with the site, having been a manager at the former paper mill close by, which drew all its water from the reservoir.

If everything goes to plan, it should be plugged in to the National Grid next spring, when it will begin to generate enough energy to power aroun 40 homes.

"The scheme will pay for itself in 20 years, and should show a healthy profit over its 40 year lifespan."

While many residents weren't keen to have wind turbines on their horizon, they were enthusiastic about renewable energy and began to explore alternative ideas that local people could support.

secured 223,000 as a grant from the Regional Carbon Challenge Fund, a scheme designed to promote low carbon technologies which has seen 2m investment from the North West Regional Development Agency.

"Most people are getting involved because they want to contribute to the environment, not because they are motivated by profit.

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Edwards said: "There isn't really a typical investor. We have had a few people from London who are purely looking for a financial return, but we also have local residents who have 250 and support what we are doing.

Walking alongside Dovestones Reservoir in the spring drizzle it is easy to see that Saddleworth is is not just an area rich in natural beauty, but also rich in a natural energy resource water.

A community owned micro power scheme, it is designed to generate and promote sustainable electricity, generating an income for its investors and a surplus which can be reinvested into community projects.

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