Thrybergh Hydro Scheme

The largest operational low-head river hydro plant in Yorkshire
Yorkshire Hydropower
NEC3 Option A


Located at Thrybergh Weir on the River Don, near the village of Kilnhurst, the hydro scheme uses the flow of the River Don to turn two Archimedes Screws to generate renewable electricity, enough to supply 300 homes in perpetuity.

The construction of a fish and eel pass will enable salmon and trout, and other migrating fish to swim upstream to spawn, an occurrence not seen for more than 100 years due to river pollution, and made obstacles such as Weirs.

Eric Wright Civil Engineering installed temporary and permanent sheet piles up to 13 metres in length to form a cofferdam adjacent to the River Don to create a dry working environment.

Next the team constructed the reinforced concrete structure, approximately 50m long and varying between 3 and 7 metres in depth, required to accommodate the Archimedes screws and associated M&E installations.

The works also included the construction of a 800m long access track, steel work design and installation for intake and outlet screens and walkways, attendance, lifting and positioning of equipment including the two Archimedes Screws and control panels, contractor designed generator and transformer housings, construction of fish and eel pass, alteration works to existing bye wash and LV electrical works.


The project received a Smeaton Award ‘Commended’ at the annual ICE Yorkshire & Humber Civil Engineering Awards 2016, in category the ‘Projects greater than 500k less than £5m’.

Key Challenges

Sheet piling on river sides with associated constraints concerning stability of piling plant and equipment. Closely managed health and safety issues associated with working close to/over water and on the existing weir.

Meeting key client dates for power generation whilst working through adverse weather conditions and floods.

Developing the temporary works designs to minimise the impact on the programme yet still present a value for money solution.

Added Value

EWCE held negotiations with Yorkshire Hydropower, the client and their design team both during the tender period and early post contract award.

Significant improvements were identified to the proposed temporary works arrangements and affected permanent works which successfully mitigated risks from unforeseen ground conditions, simplified the potential multi-phase propping and construction sequence, and generally reduced the duration of on-site construction.

Client Feedback

“It's great to see this type of long-term investment in energy infrastructure, especially as it is generating clean energy and repairing some of the damage done by centuries of industrialisation. I have been struck by the support for this scheme from the local community and the close working between the Canal & River Trust and the project development team.”
Rt. Hon. John Healey, MP
Wentworth & Dearne Constituency

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