The £1M (US$1.7M) 220kW Romney Weir hydro project was submitted to Windsor and Maidenhead council back in Feb 2004.

The project, to be located next to Romney Island between Windsor and Eton in Berkshire, will be constructed by UK-based npower renewables.

Consisting of four turbines submerged in only two of the 10 bays that make up Romney weir, the scheme is designed to be virtually invisible and silent, having little effect on the surrounding area.

‘As well as being carefully designed to fit into the surroundings, by using the existing weir, the project will have little impact on the ecology, navigation and marine life of the river,’ said Alastair Gill, hydro development manager for npower renewables.

‘With the weir shown to be more than adequate to cope with the flow of water along this stretch of the Thames, the hydro scheme will also have no effect on flood control measures.’

Now authorisation for the scheme has been approved, a feasibility study will be undertaken to better understand how to build the project. Construction is expected to begin next year, with Windsor Castle due to receive electricity from the project before the end of 2006.