Efforts to become ever more environmentally friendly have spurred innovation and the popularity of alternative energy sources. Harnessing the power of nature’s elements is perhaps one of the most effective ways of doing so. Solar panels and wind turbines have proven successful over the years and now the potential of tidal power is being realized. Perhaps its greatest benefit is, unlike solar power and wind energy, tides are more predictable.
Living along the Tidal Thames, we have this untapped opportunity on our door step. With the rising energy prices, tidal energy from the Thames could provide a much needed alleviation. Developments are beginning to be set in motion and already, Windsor Castle is now running on Thames hydropower.
Earlier this month, the BBC reported that a hydropower station in Berkshire is generating 200-300 kWh of energy, enough to power Windsor Castle, plus some. The energy is being generated by two 40 tonne turbines and whatever power that is not used is being fed back into the national grid.
Another hydropower scheme is planned in Oxfordshire. On the 30th of October, grants for a £1m hydro-electric scheme to be positioned near a weir in Abingdon got the go ahead. Two giant 10-tonne hydrodynamic screws are to be placed in Abingdon Meadow and will feed all energy produced into the national grid for consumption. It is estimated that the screws will produce enough power for 200 homes.
It appears that harnessing the Thames as an alternative energy source is beginning to catch on and the River Thames is once again proving to be a valuable resource. Let us hope that the future will bring the development of more hydropower projects that could supply the majority of power to Greater London!