Osney Lock Hydro

Key Facts

Name of Enterprise: Osney Lock Hydro
Legal Structure: Community Interest Company (CIC)
Date of Deal: 24 Febuary 2014
Transaction Size: £250,000
Type of Finance/Investment: £150,000 loan from Community Share Underwriting Fund plus Community Share Offers
Expected Return: IRR 4%
Impact: Renewable Energy Generation and Community Project Funding

Osney Lock Hydro is a community owned 49kW Hydroelectric generation project in Oxford situated on the river Thames.

The generator, which began development in 2002 and began generating electricity in 2014, uses an Archimedes screw system to provide renewable energy to the local community and sells roughly 20% of the energy generated through a Power Purchase Agreement to an energy supplier to help fund community initiatives in West Oxford.

Energy prices have increased significantly in recent years and climate change is a very real global threat. To tackle both these issues small scale power generation can help put funds raised by the sale of power back into the community with a very small or nonexistent carbon footprint. Overall the project could significantly reduce the carbon footprint of West Oxford.

The generator provides the local community with an annual minimum of 179,000kWh of clean, renewable energy from the Archimedean screw system and a further 6665kWh generated using Photovoltaic Solar panels, an overall total topping the power requirements for 50 homes. Using the model in Oxford aims to raise at least £2 million over the course of forty years, to put back into community projects, bringing environmental and social benefit to the community.

At the end of March 2016 total generation was just short of 100,000kWh, rising to just below 130,000kWh at the end of April. Overall power generation in West Oxford has reached a huge milestone in community renewable energy – the generation of the millionth unit of green electricity from community owned renewables, is in no small part thanks to Osney Lock Hydro.

The Archimedean screw system used in the Osney Lock Hydro project has an estimated lifespan of 25 – 40 years and so with the initial lease from the Environment Agency being for fifty years, the screw should only need replacing once in that time.

If you would like to learn more about funding community-led projects please contact: Kate Aiken, t/ 0161 883 1720 e/ kate.aiken@resonance.ltd.uk

If you would like to know more about Osney Lock Hydro, please visit their website.