Historic estate adds hydropower to become one of Britain’s ‘greenest palaces’

World heritage site Blenheim Palace has announced that it will install a £180,000 micro hydropower scheme on the River Glyme in order to cut the estate's co2 emissions and to become one of Britain's greenest palaces.

The scheme will generate enough clean electricity to power 18 homes – almost three times as much as the palace currently produces from solar PV.

Developed by renewables firm Hallidays Hydropower, the scheme is expected to generate an income of £12,600 per year in its first 20 years, with the current scope of Feed in Tariffs.

Based on current energy costs, which are expected to significantly increase, the scheme will also save the estate at least £5,760 per year in electricity costs giving a net return of £18,000 or more per annum.

Property director at Blenheim Palace, Roger File, said: “Micro hydro is set to play a starring role in our drive for energy independence, efficiency and environmental performance”.

“By the end of 2013 we will be generating 82,000 kWh of clean power each year – 60,000 kWh of that will come from this single development,” he added.

Further investment will see the installation of two biomass boilers and a second hydropower development in 2014.

“It’s an exciting time to be investing in renewables – it makes sense environmentally and financially,” added File.

Chief engineer at Hallidays Hydropower, Henry Reily-Collins, said: “The generating potential of Britain’s rivers is immense, the Environment Agency has identified several thousand potential hydro sites that will both improve the local environment and generate electricity”.

Leigh Stringer

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