We’ve been given go ahead from planning! Saturday 20th May: celebration picnic

Caversham weir

We’ve been given planning permission to install two water turbines at Caversham Weir! We expect to begin construction early next year.

Caversham weir
Caversham weir

The hydro turbines are expected to generate about 380 MWh of electricity each year, enough for 100 average homes. This will prevent 150 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, and help Reading play its part in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. What’s more, during construction we’ll adapt the weir to make it a better home for wildlife, by installing a new natural fish pass also suited to eel and lamprey.

Reading Hydro is a Community Benefit Society, which is a business run democratically by its members for the benefit of the whole community. Part of the profit from the scheme will go to a community fund, and we hope to raise much of the investment by a community share offer later this year.

Anne Wheldon, a director of Reading Hydro CBS, said: “This is a huge step forward towards having hydro generation at the heart of our community. Reading is a wonderful town and it’ll be great to contribute to that with our community fund and by improving the town’s carbon footprint. But now it’s all hands on deck, so I’d encourage everyone to become a member of Reading Hydro”.

Tom Youngman, a member of Reading Hydro CBS, said: “I paid my £1 to become a member of Reading Hydro two months ago and it’s been really great to contribute to such an important community project. I would encourage everyone to take part. You don’t need to know anything about hydropower, if you think the project’s a good idea it’s easy to get stuck in.”

Sophie Fenwick-Paul, who researched the local area’s history and geology for the project, says: “The Thames was driving a mill at Caversham weir by the time of Doomsday. It’s been missing for over a century and now it’s time to harness some of the energy in our gorgeous river again. There are successful community energy projects popping up everywhere now, from the Osney Lock Hydro scheme further up the Thames in Oxford to the Westmill wind farm co-op near Swindon. This is an exciting carbon-cutting project in the heart of Reading that will contribute to the community and the river’s ecosystem. It’s great to be volunteering to help it.”

Join our celebratory picnic this Saturday!

Bring your lunch to the riverside at Kings Meadows below Caversham Lock on Saturday 20th May 12 noon to 2pm. We’ll enjoy a great view of the weir (photo), have a relaxing time and chat about the project. Looking forward to seeing anyone interested there!