Group receives planning approval for River Thames small hydro proposal

Councilors from the Vale of White Horse District Council have given planning approval for a small hydropower project on the River Thames.

The Abingdon Meadow hydroelectric plant will use two 10-tonne Archimedes Screw turbines to generate a cumulative 100 kW of power, providing enough energy for about 200 homes.

The US$1.6 million project is being developed by the Abingdon Hydro co-op, which said it will sell public shares to fund the plant’s construction.

“We wanted to benefit our town, so we made it a community enterprise,” the group’s website said. “Local people can own it and be involved. We live here and we want to make it something attractive that our town is pleased to own, not just an electricity generator but a local amenity. As local investors, we are prepared to spend extra to achieve that.”

The group said it still has much work to do before actual work on the project can begin, but that receiving the planning approval is an important step. reported in August that another Archimedes Screw proposal for the River Thames — the 440-kW Sunbury Weir project — had been suspended due to concerns about the developer’s plan.

Installation of an Archimedes Screw unit at England’s Blenheim Palace, however, is now under way.

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