Could the Thames water down Parliament’s energy bills?

New scheme could use river as a source of hydropower for Palace of Westminster

Big Zero Report 2022

The Houses of Parliament could soon by powered by the river upon which it sits.

It has been reported that Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has sought advice from experts on a new project that could generate hydroelectricity from the Thames.

The plan, which will entail installing hydroelectric turbines on the Commons terrace, aims to lower the energy costs of the parliamentary estate.

Although experts have warned that the project might not be feasible due to the location and the shallowing waters of the Thames, reports cited sources close to Sir Lindsay saying: “It might be too shallow at the House of Lords’ end but at the Commons end it’s much deeper.”

Some advocates of the plan say that something similar happened when the late Queen installed hydroelectric turbines at Windsor Castle and at Balmoral.

A spokesperson for the Speaker of the House of Commons told ELN: “We need to do a feasibility study to see if this could work.”

A Port of London Authority spokesperson told ELN: “With the goal of net zero emissions being central to the PLA’s Thames Vision 2050, we support investment or activity into the use and production of appropriate alternative and renewable energies that are compatible with safe navigation in the Thames, and we have provided sites for research into tidal energy along the river.

“It is our understanding that existing technology and conditions mean that the production of tidal energy is unlikely to be successful in this area of the Thames.”

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