Last Tuesday September 28th, Friends
of the Earth organised a talk given by Chas Warlow
- joint project manager of the Ham Hydro project giving
details of the project to create hydro power at Teddington
Weir at Langton's bookshop, Church St. Twickenham.
The Ham United group was formed in 2006
to promote green initiatives in Ham. In 2007, turning
their attention to green energy the group became involved
in the idea of developing a hydropower project at Teddington
Weir. In early 2009 the group then commissioned a local
renewable energy consultancy, Thames
Renewables, to produce a feasibility study for the
project. This study demonstrated the clear viability of
such a scheme and the steering group then decided to form
a community interest company, Ham Hydro CIC, to take the
project forward. In July 2010, they were able after a
few hurdles and an initial rejection, win the contract
to supply hydro power at Teddington Lock.
The plan is to place four Archimedean
screws at Teddington Weir. (It should be noted that
for Hydropower a reverse Archimedes screw configuration
is used. The water flow over the weir drives the screws
rather than a force drawing the water up). Construction
is due to start in 2012.
Thames Anglers' Conservancy have concerns
about the plans. They are worried about the effects the
plan will have on the environment and the ecology of the
Thames at the lock. One concern is fish. The Ham Hydro
group believe the screws that they will be using are fish
friendly and will not jeopardise fish stocks or threaten
the fish themselves. Then there is the question of silting.
With the four screws creating a downwash effect, the river
bed is likely to move and create deeper pools at the points
where the screws are concentrated. Added to that there
are concerns at the actual cost of the electricity that
is being generated and whether it will actually be more
expensive than "normal" electricity.
The project is costed at approximately 2.5
million pounds. There will be a share issue to local residents
and other sources of incomes will be from environmental
grants and the tariff of the electricity sold to the grid.
It should be understood that the electricity generated
will not be powering the locale directly, but is rather
sold to a green electricity company that only sells electricity
from renewable sources.
At the talk the discussion recognised the
need for clean energy. The problem is will renewables
fulfill our needs or be cottage industries? There is of
course the nuclear option which divides opinion. The problem
of nuclear waste is always a contentious issue, even though
nuclear energy is both clean and inexpensive.
The local MP's from both sides of the river,
Vince Cable and Zac Goldsmith are supportive of the scheme
both emphasing the need for renewable energy. Certainly
the Ham Hydro project is stimulating a worthwhile debate.
The Ham Hydro group can be found here.
An example of a community hydro power scheme can be seen
Article: Arcadian Times, October 5th, 2010