THE ENVIRONMENT Agency has unveiled plans to turn Teddington weir into a green power station.
The agency's climate change programme manager Tim Reeder said Teddington is one of three weirs out of the 44 on the Thames in the running for an overhaul, and is appealing for developers to come forward with plans.
Speaking at Teddington Lock, he said: "The Environment Agency is keen to ensure hydropower fulfils its potential as a small but useful renewable energy source whilst protecting the environment. We hope that by offering these further sites for development we can facilitate the delivery of a suites of pilot projects within Thames Region from which green electricity will be produced and lessons as to future developments can be learnt."
Bell near Egham and Sunbury have also been identified by the agency as potential sites for hydropower development.
The principle function of weirs is to control water levels for navigation and flood risk purposes, although environmental boffins say some can also be used to generate energy.
Hydropower works by using flowing water to drive turbines to generate electricity. A pilot scheme, at Romney Weir in Windsor, should be operational by the end of the year. The Environment Agency is also working with community groups interested in developing schemes at Osney Weir, in Oxford, and Goring Weir, in south Oxfordshire.
Not the preferred sites have been identified, an Expression of Interest has been published, inviting interested organisations to submit outline proposals for their chosen site or sites.
Developers will be chosen by the end of May.