Shrewsbury Town Council drops hydro-electric plans

Image copyright Shrewsbury Hydro
Image caption Shrewsbury Hydro believes more than 1.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity could be produced at the weir

Shrewsbury Town Council has abandoned plans to generate electricity from the River Severn, describing its initial estimates as "very ambitious".

A feasibility study concluded that the flow of the river in winter was "unpredictable" and "erratic", the council said.

In the summer, it said levels were so low that it could not operate at all.

Despite the findings, the council said other organisations could still be interested in developing plans.

Shrewsbury Town Council and Shropshire Council jointly own the land alongside the Sydney Avenue weir, believed to be the best site.

The town council said it expected to start a procurement process in the summer to find a partner interested in building and operating a plant.

So far, the only organisation to come forward is Shrewsbury Hydro, a community interest group which has spent the last three years developing plans.

Scheme 'still viable'

The group has attracted funding of more than £100,000 to carry out studies and put proposals together.

Mark Scutt from Shrewsbury Hydro said its own research suggested the scheme was "viable" and that he could not comment on the council's figures.

Despite problems with generation over summer and during floods, the group has said more than 1.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity could be generated each year at the site, enough to power about 350 homes.

Mr Scutt welcomed the council's decision to start a procurement process.

The group claims a turbine could be completed by 2016 and would be funded by selling community shares.

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