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Archimedean Screws Now in Operation, Generating Energy for the Benefit of All

June 20, 2012 8:06 PM
The New Hydro Power Plant on the River Great Ouse in Bedford

This is a rear view of the boathouse-style casing for the Archimedean Screws

It was great to see so many people come out on Monday to see the new 'Archimedean Screws' beginning to turn and generate energy from the natural drop between the upper and lower river levels on the River Great Ouse in Bedford. Local schoolchildren were there, learning about renewable energy by watching it brought to life at such close quarters. A large number of residents who have seen the plant being installed over recent weeks were also in attendance, pleased to see it getting underway and starting to use the river's natural power for the benefit of our environment and local taxpayers.

The idea for the project dates back to well before I became Mayor, with Frank Branston pursuing the project and being a great supporter of it, and I'm delighted it is now in operation. With energy prices rising and an ongoing need to reduce energy use and protect our local and wider environment, the Archimedean Screws are a great example of a common sense 'invest to save' project making a real difference. The plant will save local taxpayers around £32,000 every year, and generate 160,000kwh of clean, renewable energy annually for current and future generations.

It is located near the School Boathouse on the south side of the embankment near Bedford Town Centre, with a footbridge along the path providing a great view of the screws in action at very close quarters. I recommend taking a look when you get the chance.

You can watch BBC Look East's report on Monday's opening event by clicking here: BBC Hydropower News Report

ITV Anglia News's report is also available here: ITV Anglia Hydropower News Report

In the past there were up to 19 mills in Bedford Borough along the River Great Ouse. I'm pleased we are reintroducing the good sense of the past and are benefiting from the natural power of the river once again here in Bedford Borough.