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Heavy rain a threat to water power project
5:20am Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
A COMMUNITY group behind a hydro power project at Osney Lock is crossing its fingers for low rainfall this winter.
If rains are heavy and the ground becomes saturated with a risk of flooding, the lock project group could be told to dismantle the coffer dams that hold back the water on each side of the building site.
Dr Barbara Hammond, one of the people behind the scheme, said: “I go quite regularly to the site to have a look at what is happening.
“It is really exciting to be building rather than digging now. We have been very lucky with the lack of rain over the summer, so we are yet to have any delays.”
The Environment Agency could call the construction company at any time after heavy rainfall to tell the workmen to take the dam down.
But having had a dry summer, the chances that will need to be done have decreased, the group says.
Dr Hammond added: “Everything is going as well as we could have hoped so far. Touch wood, fingers crossed, we have been very lucky with the weather.
“We were thinking we would have to pull the coffer dam out at least a couple of times.
“It is the phone call we dread which could come at any time. We don’t have any choice in the matter.”
Workmen started building Osney Lock Hydro in July. The project has been earmarked to generate 165,500kwh of electricity a year, enough to power more than 50 houses.
That figure may go up thanks to new equipment. With digging complete, the building phase of construction has started. Osney Lock Hydro group has ordered an Archimedes screw generator from Holland. Instalation is scheduled for January.
The variable speed screw has a 15 to 20 per cent greater generating capacity then a fixed speed screw. The screw revolves more slowly when river levels are low, increasing efficiency and keeping noise down.
Earlier this year the group behind the scheme raised £320,000 in 10 days by selling shares.
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