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 had a chance to act locally to offset their carbon emissions and help promote renewable energy. Investing in the Whitby Esk Energy project should be seen as a social investment, not a financial investment. Shareholders were not able to withdraw your money in the first five years, but could 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 for local carbon reduction projects.
  • • Promoting green energy educational programmes.

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 Caryn Loftus, Company Secretary, on tel. 0741 0549 833.

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.

2012 – 2017

In the first 5 years of operation we:

  • Generated approximately 120,000 kWh / annum or approximately enough energy for 40 homes.
  • July 2017 saw us reach the 500 MWh milestone.
  • In effect paid back the carbon used in the production and installation of the turbine within 3 years of starting to generate. By 19th November 2015, we had generated 276.7 MWh of renewable electricity which saved the equivalent of 150 tonnes of CO2.
  • Supported the Environment Agency research project to monitor the migratory fish movements at Ruswarp. The conclusion was that: “The comparable overall passage efficiencies pre- and post-commissioning indicate that overall passage through the site has been maintained.” The final report was published in December 2016 and can be accessed via our website –
  • Created a range of social benefits.