03:30AM, Wednesday 08 August 2012
A last minute change of tactics has delayed the completion of a major riverside scheme to supply clean power to Windsor Castle and up to 400 homes across town.
American born David Dechambeau's dream of creating the largest hydropower scheme in the South-east seemed about to come true last December, when he supervised two 40-tonne water turbines being lifted into place at Romney Weir. They were intended to provide clean power from the Thames for royal and local use within a month.
This week Mr Dechambeau explained why a change of plan had delayed the laying of the 11,000 volt cable connecting the system to the castle - which was to have been done via a large trench.
He said: "We would have had to close the lock and the river for two to four weeks. There was also a small risk with a trench of an anchor from a large boat dragging along the river bed making contact with an 11,000 volt cable."
Now an alternative plan to drill a tunnel under the river bed and the nearby railway line six inches in diameter and 32 feet below the surface is to be used.
Mr Dechambeau said: "The turbines should start turning in a month, creating energy although we won't be doing anything with it yet. It will give residents of nearby Tangier Lane an idea of what it looks and sounds like, while we check the bearings don't overheat and 100 other small things."
He is being careful this time about suggesting a date for the scheme to be up and running but hopes it will be well before Christmas. It is anticipated once the castle has been powered, left over energy from the scheme will be pumped straight into the national grid.
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