The project

Esk Energy (Yorkshire) Limited, run by a team of local people, worked hard to raise funds for their Whitby Esk Energy project. The funds were used to install a 50kw hydroelectric turbine, using a ‘fish friendly’ Archimedes screw, on the River Esk at Ruswarp, near Whitby. The group worked with the Environment Agency, North York Moors National Park and River Esk Action Committee to develop a scheme which will generate green electricity over at least 20 years and support local carbon reducing projects.

By buying shares,  shareholders have a chance to act locally to offset your carbon emissions and help promote renewable energy. Whilst interest will be payable (once the project is established) investing in the Whitby Esk Energy project should be seen as a social investment, not a financial investment. Shareholders are not able to withdraw your money in the first five years, but can thereafter.

The aims of the project are twofold:

  1. To produce ‘green’ energy thereby reducing carbon emissions.
  2. To produce a regular income to finance continuing carbon reducing projects.

Examples of how surplus money will be used:

  • • Developing and operating a grant system towards the installation of solar, wind and water energy generating systems in the Esk Valley.
  • • Promoting green energy educational programmes.
  • • Pioneering green energy apprenticeships.

An independent study of flows at the site, in 2012, estimated that about 160,000 kilowatt hours of electricity will be produced annually, equivalent to approximately the electricity needs of 45 houses, reducing carbon emissions by 70 tonnes per year.

Since the launch we have featured in over 40 items of positive coverage relating to the share scheme launch. The published readership of all titles is in excess of 4 million. This has only been possible due to the support received from the Co-operative Enterprise Hub.

If you want to know more and can’t find the information on the website then email us or phone Colin Mather on tel. 0741 0549 833.

Current Status

2008 – 2011

  • Planning permission from the North York Moors National Park Authority and water abstraction licence and flood defence approval from the Environment Agency gained.
  • Sufficient capital raised to order the turbine.


  • The National Park in support of the project has installed a state of the art fish pass alongside the site of the turbine which will enhance the River Esk as an important salmon and sea trout river.
  • The Environment Agency has started a programme of monitoring movements of migratory fish over the weir.
  • Construction started in May 2012.
  • Generation started on the 12th December 2012.