Shrewsbury weir electricity plans get £15k of funding

The weir at Shrewsbury
Image caption The weir could provide 2m kilowatt hours of electricity a year

A Shropshire group hoping to generate electricity from the River Severn has won £15,000 to move its plans forward.

Shrewsbury Hydro has secured the money from the Energyshare Fund to pay for environmental surveys before the official planning stage can be reached.

If approved, the group said the town's weir could generate up to two million kilowatt hours of electricity a year.

Mark Scutt, from the group, said: "The turbines could be used to power between 350 and 400 houses in the area."

He said about four million tonnes of water could flow down the river each day when it had been raining.

Underground turbine

Mr Scutt said: "We're looking at things post peak oil and anything not dependent on fossil fuels.

"The plan is to install a hydro electric plant, the turbine would be underground so you wouldn't see anything different."

Mr Scutt said Shrewsbury Hydro, part of Transition Town Shrewsbury, was one of four groups out of hundreds to be chosen after a public vote.

He said: "We're very pleased, it shows people in Shropshire are interested in renewable energy."

Initial funding of £30,000 for the idea had come from Advantage West Midlands, which has since been abolished.

Shrewsbury Hydro has estimated that using hydro power would save up to 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

It is not yet known how much it would cost to install the turbines needed to generate electricity, but Mr Scutt believes they would pay for themselves in 20 years through the government's renewable energy scheme called Feed-In Tariffs.

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