An old Oława River water mill creating energy from renewable sources

Active in the agro tourism sector, Eco Agro Turystyka Młyn is a converted water mill, offering accommodation, leisure, restaurant and spa facilities for tourists. The business has diversified and expanded its offering by installing a new turbine to produce electricity from the river’s water for use not only by its guests, but by the wider community.

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Part of the restored mill. © Eco Agro Turystyka Młyn Part of the restored mill. © Eco Agro Turystyka Młyn

" Restoring the old mill has allowed us to expand our business by providing accommodation and leisure facilities to tourists. Neighbouring farmers are now able to adjust the hydration level of their fields around the river, which has resulted in better crops. Increasing the capacity of groundwater flow in the mill area by restoring the channel has reduced the risk of floods. Finally, bringing the mill back to work has brought to life industrial architecture and technology used a hundred years ago. "

Arkadiusz Drulis, owner of Eco Agro Turystyka Młyn

The mill, which is located on a channel between River Młynówka and River Oława, had a disused electrical turbine, which its owners were unable to fix. With ERDF-funding, the old mill building was completely revamped and a new electrical turbine was installed in order to produce electricity.

Higher water depth

The state-of-the-art technology used in the new turbine has helped restore fauna and flora by increasing the depth of flowing water, while also extending the surface area for aquatic habitats. In fact, the depth of the river and the canal has risen from 20 cm to over 1.3 m, which has had a calming effect on the current and reduced erosion from the bottom and banks of the river. The stabilisation of surface water positively influences the forest and agricultural crops along the riverbanks and improves conditions for aquatic animals and flowers to flourish. Groundwater levels, which had been declining due to a dryer climate in recent years, have also risen.

The construction of innovative turbine water pipes has significantly increased the amount of energy from water being turned into electricity. This energy is used to heat the building and water using heat pumps.

The upgrade has enhanced the competitiveness of the company, while ensuring security of energy supply at local level, thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels. In fact, the electricity produced at the mill is used by the wider community, as it feeds into the national power grid. Any unused energy is resold to the grid, becoming a source of additional income for the mill.

A tourist draw

The opportunity to visit a small hydroelectric plant at work has attracted tourists to the region. The chance of taking a boat trip on the upper river channel and the Oława River, which was previously impossible due to the low water levels, has become an additional attraction for visitors.

The project has encouraged other businesses in the area to also install small hydropower stations. Some of these businesses have even diversified their business activities to include power generation from renewable energy sources.

The project is an outstanding example of a private business expanding and diversifying its activities by committing to producing green energy from renewable energy sources, while protecting the environment.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the “Small hydro power plant on the mill channel of the Oława River in the village of Witowice” project is EUR 191 224, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 77 000 from the Operational Programme “Lower Silesian” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period

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