The Reading Hydro Community Benefit Society will take forward the development, and ultimately operation, of the hydro project.
On 30th December 2019 we launched our public share offer here. We’re inviting members of the communities of Reading and beyond to join us in making this project a reality, by investing in Reading Hydro.
All the permissions needed to build the hydro scheme have been secured, and we’re working with professional advisers who are helping us to make best use of the site and achieve value for money. We now hope to start building before May 2020 and to commission the hydro scheme later on in the year
Choosing the Technology and Location
Our plan is to install Archimedes Screw turbines beside Caversham Weir. The turbines should generate about 320MWh of renewable electricity each year for decades to come. This is enough to supply about 90 average homes. We’ll also pay for improvements to the local environment around View Island. This includes a new fish pass to help fish and eels move up the river. also see our technical summary.
Being close to the train station and town centre and easily accessible on foot, the hydro scheme will be open to all to visit. Local schools, as well as universities and community micro generation groups from around the country can have access whenever they wish to. We want to share our monitoring data under open data standards so it can be used by anyone.
We are examining different options for selling the electricity generated, including emerging local supply mechanisms. Profits will be returned back to our investors after our costs are covered. Opportunities for investment in local community sustainability projects will be considered once we’re up and generating.
Getting the Structure Right
Reading Hydro is a Community Benefit Society, so anyone who becomes a member has an equal vote in how it is run. We have a wide variety of members and volunteers, including the current directors. There are many different ways in which you can support us.
Supporting the Local Environment
Reading Hydro is adding a natural fish pass through the trees of View Island, using the existing topography. This will enhance the environment, and make it easier for fish to pass up and down stream. The current fish pass, which by modern standards is considered steep, will continue to remain in place.
We have notified Reading Borough Council, the relevant body, of our intention to build on the site, and have been granted planning permission. The necessary consents to use the river (abstraction, impoundment, environmental flood defence) have been secured from the Environment Agency. We have also gained permission for the construction of the fish pass.