11:38am Friday 18th April 2014
A GROUND breaking £1.3 million project to harness water from the River Avon through a hydropower generator in Pershore is set to be powering the town's leisure centre by the end of the July.
The renewable energy project, which is being built at Wyke Manor Farm, is one of the first of its kind in the country with only the Queen having already built a hydropower generator of a similar size.
The scheme began last month, as reported in the Journal, and is the brainchild of Charles Hudson, who owns the farm, famous for producing Real Flower Confetti.
And the recent warm and dry weather has seen the development of the the project move on in leaps and bounds.
Mr Hudson explained the progress of the generator, which should produce 750,000KW hours a year, the exact amount required to power Pershore Leisure Centre.
"With the weather we have had recently it is going absolutely brilliantly," said Mr Hudson, who is also funding the scheme, alongside a £300,000 investment by Wychavon District Council.
"We have been able to do a lot of excavation work. There has also been nothing archaeological found."
The project will see two 15 tonne turbines convert 20 tonnes of water into power as it falls down a 2.4 metre head in the river.
"We have used 35 tonnes of steel to reinforce the foundation, on top of which the turbines will sit. We have also bored under the river and done the drilling to allow the supply of electricity to the leisure centre.
"The power is generated as low voltage and then it goes to a transformer to become high voltage to take it across the river and then back to low voltage to go back into the leisure centre.
"There will also be a cable that connects it to the grid in case we generate more electricity or if the river is low the leisure centre can access energy from the grid."
The project is unique in that the energy produced should entirely power a local service and Mr Hudson said the only one of a similar size is located at Bromley Marsh at Windsor Castle.
He now hopes the ambitious project, which should have paid for itself within 15 years, is the start of many renewable energy schemes across the country.
"We have the potential to be self sufficient in this country," added Mr Hudson, who hopes more government money will be used to increase the number of renewable energy schemes rather than being spent on nuclear power.
"Since the article in the Journal I have had lots of people speaking in support of the project which is encouraging. I hope all across the country where we have impounded water that that water power is harnessed."
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