What is a hydroelectric power scheme?
There are already several hydro power schemes on the river Thames. The nearest ones are Mapledurham and Sonning, with Osney, Sandford and Windsor slightly further away. All of them use Archimedes Screw turbines which uses the potential energy of the river to generate power. This means when the river changes levels at a weir, there’s a drop in water and we can turn change into electricity. At this drop, water flows through the screws, causing them to turn with considerable force – water is heavy stuff. This turning motion then turns the generators which subsequently produce our green electricity. See link from Community Energy England
In summary, we use the energy of the water at Caversham Weir and turn it into rotational kinetic energy using Archimedean screw turbines. These turbines turn our electric generators and they covert that energy into our hydro electricity.
The screw turbines are completely safe for fish, and fish will be carried downstream through the equipment unharmed. However, the fish cannot swim upstream through the turbines. To remedy this, we will be installing an additional natural fish pass on View Island to facilitate the upstream passage of fish, eels and lamprey . The fish pass will also provide some new spawning grounds for all fish along its route. There will be new habitats for flora and fauna too.
The government set up the Feed-in-Tariff (FiTs) scheme several years ago to encourage renewable generation. We pre-registered for FiT, meaning we will get paid a small sum for each kWh of electricity that we generate. On top of this we can sell any generated electricity to a private consumer or back to the National Grid. By doing so, we generate sufficient income to pay for the installation. The whole installation will become a wholly owned community asset directly benefiting Reading, once it’s paid for. Even during the first twenty years of operation, the installation will produce a surplus that can be used to support local green initiatives. That’s plenty of community benefit for many years to come.
What it might look like