Ancient Greece to Help Power Modern Bedford
Bedford Borough Council is pursuing a
pioneering project, inspired by technology from Ancient Greece, to
produce clean energy from the River Great Ouse.
The major scheme will see a state-of-the-art
hydro power plant installed on the river at the Boat Slide Weir
Bridge which could generate up to 190,000 kilowatt hours per
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said:
“Pursuing ambitious projects such as this demonstrates our
commitment to protect the environment and to save taxpayers’ money.
We are investigating whether the electricity generated can supply
Borough Hall, cutting the Council’s energy bill.
“The river is one of the Borough’s greatest
assets, and this move to harness its power without damaging its
ecology makes sense in every respect.
“As well as being a fantastic project in its
own right, this bold scheme stands alongside other measures such as
our efforts as part of the 10:10 initiative and the Mayor’s Climate
Change Fund as a statement of intent that we will do all we can to
protect the local and wider environment.”
The technology is called an Archimedes Screw
Device, which was originally developed in Ancient Greece.
Essentially it involves a large screw shaped device which water
flows through, making it rotate which then turns a turbine to
produce electricity. The Environment Agency describes this
technology as ‘fish friendly’ as it allows fish to pass safely
through it and also maintains the ecology of the river.
Bedford Borough Council will be one of the
first areas in Britain to use this technology for a modern
hydro-power plant. It has been successfully implemented in Dartmoor
National Park, where it is generating £35,000 worth of electricity
The Environment Agency claims applications for
permits to build small scale hydropower schemes have increased
dramatically in the last five years. Whilst, small scale renewable
energy schemes built on public sector land could provide up to 3
gigawatts of power and save three million tonnes of CO2 a year.