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Hydro-power scheme for Windsor Castle still on course

Hydro-power scheme for Windsor Castle still on course

Francis Batt

Hydro-power scheme for Windsor Castle still on course

The much-delayed riverside scheme to supply clean power to homes across Windsor is still on course says its director.

American born David Dechambeau made headlines when he supervised the placing of two 40 tonne turbines on the Thames over a year ago.

They were to be at the centre of the largest hydropower scheme in the South East, drawing energy from the weir to power Windsor Castle and up to 400 homes across the town.

The scheme has been delayed by more than a year after hitting problems over the laying of the necessary cable into the castle.

Mr Dechambeau said: "We had planned for a 650m cable but it proved more complex than that. We have ended up with a secure and robust 1,200m cable."

Now finally the necessary tests can be carried out to ensure the turbines work as they should.

He said: "We have to simulate all the conditions that might shut the system. This involves about 1,000 separate tests."

Mr Dechambeau hopes power can begin to be supplied to the castle at night in about a month with the turbines shutting during the day so testing can continue.

"We could be fully operational within three months although I can't be sure," he said.

The plan to power the castle from the river has been on the cards for two decades. Mr Dechambeau's company Southeast Power Engineering stepped in to take it over four years ago when npower pulled out.

The £1.5million scheme works on the principle of the Archimedes Screw, first developed as a water pump in ancient Greece. The four metre diameter turbines were transported by road from Holland to Windsor in September 2011.

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