Power from river to light school

IN THE inauspicious surroundings of a lead factory, a rubbish depot and a gasometer, a group of artists and engineers yesterday unveiled what is thought to be the first modern water-power turbine installed in a Western city.

Micro-hydro power technology is increasingly popular in Peru and Nepal, where a one- kilowatt turbine can light a village. It has now arrived on the delta of the river Wandle in south London: here it will ring a bell at high tide and light the hall of a primary school.

The project is the brainchild of Platform, a group set up 10 years ago to combine art, science, ecology and earth magic. It cost pounds 25,000, from the Government's now-defunct urban programme, and is backed by the Department of the Environment, Wandsworth Council, the Arts Council and the London Arts Board.

The Wandle was chosen because it is one of the few rivers not to have been turned into a drain. Its delta was, in Bronze and Iron Age times, a site of votive water offerings: the Battersea Shield in the British Museum was found there. According to Platform, it was as sacred a river as the Ganges.

The group hopes the project will raise the average urban Briton's energy consciousness to nearer that of a rural Nepali, who knows the limits of the village hydropower plant and will switch off the lights when he or she starts to cook. Bikash Pandey, its programme manager in Nepal, watched yesterday's ceremony.

He said: 'What is exciting is that people are coming to the same conclusions, whether they are in London or in Nepal. It is easy in a big city to think nuclear power is the solution, but the best economics is using local resources intelligently, making a place beautiful and looking after the environment in the long-term.'

Platform describes the project as a celebration of ecological technology and sees it as part of the imaginative recreation of the city. The bell will 'reconnect' people with tidal rhythms. On a sculpted frieze are the names of species it seeks to lure back - salmon, otter, heron. St Joseph's school, which is taking energy from the turbine, is being rebuilt along green lines, with a bird-watching hide, an ecological garden, a log amphitheatre and nesting- boxes built into the school walls. Its children helped to plan these features.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks