When: 17 April 2024, 18:15 - 20:00
Where: On View Island, overlooking the turbine house - View Island, Caversham Weir, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 8BP. OS grid reference SU720741.
Speaker: Emma Wells and Rupert Wilson, Volunteers at Reading Hydro
The Thames Valley Group are delighted to have secured a visit to Reading Hydro.
The Hydro is on the River Thames, which is part of the longest river in England, it has 45 locks, is home to over 25 species of fish, boasts three areas of outstanding natural beauty and it’s the only river in Europe to have a national trail follow its entire length. Originally used for transporting goods by river and links to the Kennet & Avon canal. In recent years the river in Reading is used for growing recreational uses & schemes such as Reading Hydro are an example of how we are using sustainability to provide energy solutions.
Reading Hydro is a Community Benefit Society, a not-for-profit business. It was set up to design, finance, build and operate a hydropower scheme that generates renewable, low-carbon electricity from the power of the River Thames.
The scheme is beside Caversham weir in Reading. It generates electricity using two Archimedes screw turbines connected via gearboxes to electrical generators. Construction started in Autumn 2020, and the scheme was completed and commissioned in 2021. Electricity generation started in September 2021.
We are a community of people who share a common purpose – to create a locally-owned community asset, and generate renewable electricity to help tackle the climate crisis and ensure a more sustainable future for the people of Reading. When restrictions allow, we meet as members, volunteer our expertise and participate in local events to spread the word on clean, sustainable energy.
Reading Hydro CBS is a cooperative business. We raised investment through community share offers. We earn income by selling the renewable electricity generated from the hydro scheme, and also from the feed-in-tariff (FIT). This will cover our operating costs, provide a modest return to investors, and gradually pay back their investment. As a Community Benefit Society, any surplus will then be paid back to the community in the form of grants.
We are a technology- and science-led society, supported by experts in a range of construction, power generation and sustainability fields. We provide open access data on the system performance, river flow and conditions.
Reading Hydro wants to use our system to promote and share the benefits of renewable energy with the local community. We will be creating online education tools about hydro power and will host visits of local schools and others, for talks about clean energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental conservation.
**Please note that this visit is limited to 16 visitors**
What the visit covers
The visit can cover all the topics below - let us know if you have particular interests.
1. How Reading Hydro came into being, and how the hydro project was planned, financed and constructed
2. How the hydro turbines and electricity generation system work, estimated output, current performance as shown by live data on our website.
3. The cable to Thames Lido: why it was needed and how it was laid.
4. How Reading Hydro operates and maintains the hydro plant
5. The fish pass, why it was required, how it works, how it was constructed.
6. The murals on the turbine house.
7. Some aspects of the history and ecology of View Island.
**For safety and insurance reasons, groups are not allowed in the turbine house, but your hosts will explain what goes on inside, and there is a video on our website**
Health and safety:
You make this visit at your own risk. You are not covered by Reading Hydro’s public liability insurance, because you will walk only on public land (owned by Reading Borough Council or the Environment Agency and open to the public 24/7) throughout the visit. The hydro turbines, turbine house and fish pass can all be viewed from this land. Your visit hosts will explain and point things out to you, but will not tell you what to do. We ask all adult visitors to sign to confirm that they understand this.
We have undertaken a risk assessment for visits. We have identified the following risks associated with walking on the public land, and how they are mitigated. Your hosts will remind you of these at the start of the visit.
? Risk of falling into the water and drowning: you are advised to keep behind a fence, or well away from the unfenced edge of View Island. We take only a small number of people on each visit so that they can stay close to the host. Reading Hydro has provided a lifebelt near the site but, because it hangs next to the public footpath, we cannot guarantee that it won’t have been stolen
? Risk of slipping, tripping or falling: much of the route we suggest is on tarmac or concrete paths, but the paths on View Island are unmade. You are advised to wear sturdy footwear and keep a look-out for tree roots, brambles etc on the Island. The wooden footbridges onto View Island and across the entrance of the fish pass can be slippery.
? Risk of injury from bicycles or scooters: the path that leads over the weir is popular with cyclists and scooter users. We advise visitors to call out if they see a bicycle or scooter approaching. We take only a small number of people on each visit so that they can stay close to the host.
? Risk of injury from dogs biting or jumping up: the paths and View Island are popular with dog walkers. We advise visitors to be alert.
**once delegates have booked to attend they will be sent a copy of this visit agreement issued by Reading Hydro, which unless is completed they cannot attend the visit**
As usual with Thames Valley Group events, afterwards attendees are warmly invited to continue the evening at the Three Guineas Public House outside Reading Station.
Booking for Members - Non-Members - FREE
Click 'Book now' online to book, if you have any difficulties email us at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting event code: TVG0446
Note: If you are not a current Member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, please be aware our membership team may be in touch with you using your email address provided regards membership opportunities. If you do not wish to be contacted please email and let us know at email@example.com
SUS1.1 Social, Economic and Environmental Resilience of the Supply Chain