U.K. developer in talks to supply Windsor Castle from Romney hydro

Developer npower renewables says it is discussing with the United Kingdom’s Royal Household the prospects for supplying electricity to 900-year-old Windsor Castle from the Romney Weir hydropower project.

Npower said it received approval August 7 from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Planning Authority of England to redesign the 200-kW project. (HNN 6/13/08) Npower had applied to replace four proposed low-head submerged propeller turbines with two hydrodynamic screw turbines utilizing the design of ancient Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes.

Although npower did not state an installed capacity for the modified project, it said the Archimedes screw turbines would be capable of generating 1.4 gigawatt-hours annually, more electricity than the original design.

The developer received permission from the authority in 2005 to build a 1 million pound (US$1.7 million) project with four conventional turbines installed in two of the ten bays of the existing Thames River weir to generate 1.3 GWh annually. Power would be delivered to the castle by underground cables and not pass through the national grid.

The scheme is to be developed and built by npower in association with Southeast Power Engineering. Construction and commissioning are expected in 2009.

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