Thursday, 14 December 2017

£1.5m hydroelectric power plant proposal

PLANS for a £1.5million hydroelectric power plant at Goring weir could be put forward for approval by the

PLANS for a £1.5million hydroelectric power plant at Goring weir could be put forward for approval by the end of the year.

The Goring and Streatley Sustainability Group wants to build turbines on the Thames about 500ft upstream from the bridge between the villages.

The scheme consists of three Archimedes screws, each of which would be 12ft wide and connected to a generator.

It would be capable of producing 1,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, equivalent to a million domestic units. This could power about 300 homes and would be worth more than £100,000 a year.

The site is owned by the Environment Agency, which supports the scheme in principle but says more studies are needed to gauge its impact.

The group is hiring a team of scientists who will survey the area this summer. They will assess the effect on plants and wildlife, both in the river and on land, as well as flooding, noise and pollution.

If the agency is satisfied with their report, the group will submit a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council.

Most of the funding would come from a community investment scheme in which residents would be able to buy shares. Power generated by the plant would be sold to the National Grid and a portion of the proceeds donated to green projects in the villages.

Former Goring parish councillor David Holt came up with the idea in 2005 and founded the group the following year. The group carried out a series of design, feasibility and environment studies between 2008 and 2010.

It submitted a planning application last year but withdrew it when the Environment Agency said the studies were not detailed enough.

Group chairwoman Lisa Ashford said: “There are some areas of those studies which are very simple for us to correct and others which require more specialist attention.

“Being a voluntary organisation, we have to take this slowly because we have to raise enough funds for every step of the process.

“It’s a slow and incremental process but we are determined to see it through. However, we must also ensure everything is done properly.

“The fact that it will generate renewable energy from a previously untapped source is great as it will reduce our carbon emissions.

“The project will also give people a sense of community as it has a very tangible end result.”

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