Oxford locals pour £296k into hydropower project

Rivers in Oxford are usually reserved for rowers and tourists trying out punts but now one is about to get another – more powerful – use. That’s after a community […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Rivers in Oxford are usually reserved for rowers and tourists trying out punts but now one is about to get another – more powerful – use. That’s after a community hydropower scheme in Oxford raised £296,000 by selling shares in just 10 days.

The Osney Lock project on the River Thames in Oxford will generate 165,500kWh of electricity per year – roughly enough to power more than 50 homes.

Dr Barbara Hammond of local group Osney Lock Hydro said: “We have been planning the project for 12 years but had to move fast when the project got the green light from the Environment Agency as the deadline they gave us for raising the cash was 7 May.”

Investments in the project start from £500 and in return investors get a projected return of 4% a year for 20 years as well as 40 years of renewable energy generation.

Saskya Huggins, a volunteer with OLH said they are “thrilled” with support from the local area, adding that 75% of the investment so far has come from within the city of Oxford, while half of all investment is from people living within a mile of the hydro site.