Celebration marks completion of 99 kW hydropower project in Sonning

Developers joined on the banks of the Thames River last week to celebrate the completion of a 99 kW Archimedes Screw hydroelectric plant in Sonning.

The project, owned by British marina and campground owner Pridewater Estates Ltd., continues the group’s philosophy of installing renewable generating assets at its sites where possible. Already, Pridewater Estates has installed solar panels at some of its properties, but said it wanted to see what it could do to “cancel out [its] environmental impact completely.”

According to the company, the Archimedes screw installed at Sonning will not feed power directly to each of its four marinas, but will offset the energy used by them. Power generated at the site is fed directly into the national grid.

The Archimedes screw installed at Sonning weighs 25 tonnes, Pridewater Estates said, with a 4.2-meter diameter and flow rate of 8,000 liters per second. The project was also designed with a fish pass to minimize its environmental impact.

“All our people who have been involved in this development are immensely proud of what we are doing here,” Pridewater Estates associate Terry Lane said. “We hope it provides the inspiration for others to look for similar opportunities to improve the environment, while at the same time growing their businesses as we are growing ours, in order to create more job opportunities, a stronger economy and increased prosperity for this country.”

Construction began in the summer of 2016, with design and build services by civil engineering firm Greenford Ltd. The company’s portfolio includes several other Archimedes screw installations, including one at England’s Blenheim Palace that was completed in August 2013.

“For many years we have stood at this point and thought this would be a very good pace from which to try to generate green electricity from hydropower,” property owner Hugo Gamble said. “We owned the land, the abstraction license and had a rather sketchy vision of what might be, but Pridewater Estates and Greenford were the masterminds. They literally took an idea and turned it into reality and are, in our opinion, an excellent example of British engineering and ingenuity.”

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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