Why we may not be generating

We finally had all permissions and procedures in place to start generating on September 1st. But once again the weather was not on our side. It stayed stubbornly warm and dry for over three weeks, and the river flow was too low to start. At last it rained, and the Environment Agency gave us the go-ahead to generate on September 29th. Our new O&M team raced into action, and Reading Hydro came to life. 

We are currently having some teething issues with the system that we are working hard to resolve, and hope to be fully operational in a few weeks.  Whilst we sort out the issues you may see the turbines running intermittently.

Reading Hydro Official Opening Ceremony

Reading Hydro cbs is very pleased and proud to announce that our two reverse archimedes screw turbines by Caversham Weir are now officially operational and ready to generate clean, sustainable energy to the benefit of the reading community.

Watch our Opening Ceremony Video here

With speeches from Sophie Paul (Chair), Dr Tony Cowling (Founder), Andy Tunstall (Comms Director) & Matt Rodda MP (Reading East), our ceremony was attended by 35 people who had been identified as committing above and beyond to making our project a success. The ceremony saw our ceremonial plaque unveiled and a letter from Alok Sharma MP (Reading West & COP26 President) read out, underlining his support for renewable energy projects and reaffirming the UK’s commitment to a successful COP26 summit. The switching on of the Reading Hydro turbines for generation was accompanied by music from local band Turny Down, some of which you can catch in our video above.

The Board of Directors thanks all those who came to support our opening, as well as the wonderful coverage provided by both the BBC and ITV who did live broadcasts from our site by Caversham Weir. The Board also wishes to thank our community of members, shareholders and volunteers who are all vital to the success of this project. Plans regarding guided tours of the turbines will be shared with the community in the near future, and we look forward to welcoming you to site to see the culmination of your investment and hard work.

With Many Thanks,

The Directors,
Reading Hydro CBS Ltd

Turbine House Mural Unveiled

Reading Hydro Mural
Our mural was commissioned following an open competition, with our winner chosen from 11 fantastic entries

Another Step forward

READING, UK: Reading Hydro CBS formally unveils our Turbine House Mural as the latest addition of public artwork to the burgeoning art scene in the town. With the screws now installed and commissioning underway, unveiling our new mural denotes two important points for our project; the return of the weir footpath for public use and another step towards electricity generation on the Thames in Reading. As such, with users returning to the weir, it’s thrilling that there is a new feature for the public to enjoy on their way past our site.

Designed by artist Guglielmo Miccolupi, of the solarpunk collective Commado Jugendstil, ‘Community Energym’ represents the Reading Hydro community and the sustainable power the project will generate. Chosen from a impressive selection of entries, the judges noted the artwork’s inspiring design and exceptional presentation. The application process to the walls took place over May 2021, with the assistance of over 20 volunteers. The end result is a high-quality and visually stunning artwork, enjoyable and appreciable to the Reading community from Hills Meadow and the Caversham Weir.

The Mural at our site by Caversham Weir


The piece makes full use of the brief for a fun, engaging artwork about community energy and sustainability. Featuring Archimedes, Mother Thames and droplets from the river, the mural shows how our turbines will generate community power. The droplet’s movements in Archimedes’ gym, generating electric bolts to power our community light, is “…a fun and powerful metaphor to show the interaction between the river and the turbines…”. Mother Thames, sitting beneath the clear message about our project; “This Energy is By the people, for the People”, signifies our wide community of shareholders and volunteers. Without their combined effort, our project would not be the success it has become.

The Reading Hydro Board therefore passes on its sincere thanks to Guglielmo & Laura for their superb efforts and the wonderful gift they have given Reading. We hope the unveiled mural helps bring the community together regarding sustainability and hydropower for many years to come. Thank you!

You can find out more about the mural on its dedicated webpage.

Gallery of mural images taken on site


Reading Hydro are pleased to announce that the submitted design of Guglielmo Miccolupi, of Commando Jugendstil, has been selected as the winner of our competition to design a new community mural on our Turbine House by the Caversham Weir, in Reading, UK. Commando Jugendstil will be familiar to many in Reading as the collective leading the Transition Network workshops exploring the sustainable future of our local community out to 2045. Reading Hydro are thrilled to be working with the collective to add to the growing public art scene in the town.

The entry, entitled ‘Community Energym’, conceives of the water of the River Thames going to the gym and using the machines to exercise and generate energy, with help from both Archimedes and Mother Thames. The design appealed to our judging panel for its universal attraction and extremely high quality execution. The full design will be publicly unveiled in the coming weeks both jointly at our site and on our website.

“We wanted to create a visual that could be both playful and engaging, so we played with the concept of water generating energy, and we came up with the idea of drops of water going to the gym, doing sports and using the machines to generate energy. We thought this could be a fun and powerful metaphor to show the interaction between the river and the turbines”.

Commando Jugendstil

Our warmest congratulations to Guglielmo and the collective for winning, and our sincerest thanks to the 10 other artists who provided such strong and beautiful submissions. Reading Hydro firmly believes that the high standard of submissions received reflects a strong and growing artistic community within the town, and that our mural will contribute to the bright future for cultural works and opportunities in Reading.

The Directors
Reading Hydro CBS

Delivery of the Archimedes Screw Turbines

Reading Hydro CBS is very pleased to announce that our two screw turbines have been placed into their new housings on Tuesday 27th April 2021. Built by SpaansBabcock and rated 46kW total energy output, the screws were successfully delivered to our site by Caversham Weir. The challenging operation, including use of a 12-tonne crane, went off without a hitch; we thank our team, Spaans and our crane operator for their superb work in achieving this success.

The next few weeks will involve affixing the screws properly into their housings, as well as carrying out the full commissioning of the system. In the mean time, check out a selection of images from the day below; we’re also hoping to compile a video in the coming weeks to help mark this occasion. The Board passes its thanks onto you, our shareholders and community, as well as Reading, for supporting us this far. We are looking forward to commencing generation of clean, sustainable electricity in the near future.

Our particular thanks to Ian G. for the wonderful aerial image!


Due to phenomenal demand, the Reading Hydro Board are formally giving notice of closure of the Additional Share Offer by 6pm, Friday 26th March 2021. To say we’re overwhelmed and delighted to receive such support from the Reading community is an understatement – thank you so much for helping us make this project a success.

As per our Share Offer document, any over-subscription above £170,000 wil be managed by prioritising local investors and existing shareholders, as well as through reductions in larger scale investments. Further communications with investors will be made through our offer administrators, Sharenergy, after the deadline for closure. We are also announcing the cancellation of our share offer Q&A event scheduled for the 30th March.

Once again, thank you for your incredible support.
The Directors, Reading Hydro CBS

Additional Share Offer Now Open

Additional Share Offer
Reading Hydro is opening an additional share offer to raise £170,000

Reading Hydro CBS is opening an additional share offer to help us raise the funds to finish our project

The Board of Directors are pleased to announce significant progress is being made on our site by Caversham Weir, Reading, UK. The main civils construction, carried out by our contractors, Land & Water, has now been successfully completed. The next stages of works include building the Turbine House, the connection cable to the grid, our fish pass and the restoration of the surrounding grounds to their normal state. We’ve been able to make it this far through the support of our shareholders, stakeholders and volunteers, to who the Board passes on its sincere thanks.

However, the project has suffered some cost overruns – this has been primarily brought on by inclement weather, poor ground conditions and the subsequent flooding. We’ve also incurred additional costs with our grid connection work and meeting our regulatory requirements. As such, the Board estimates we need to raise an additional £170,000 to be able to complete our work and start generating electricity. This is where we need your help – our Chair, Sophie, explains further in a video below.

Sophie, Reading Hydro Chair

we need your support

Reading Hydro has decided to run an additional share offer to obtain the funds needed to finish our work. We therefore invite you to support us by getting involved and buying shares in our Community Benefit Society. By doing so, you can help make green energy from the Thames a reality for Reading. Visit our dedicated Share Offer page, where you will find:

  • Further details in our Share Offer Document
  • Our Revised Business Plan
  • An application form to apply, or a link for online applications

We thank you for your continued support.

The Directors, Reading Hydro CBS

The Share offer will close by 5pm, 9TH APRIL 2021

Turbine House Crowdfunder

Caversham Weir, 5th February 2021 (Thames in flood!)

We’re raising funds to build our turbine house

The construction of our hydro scheme started in November and is well underway, as shown in the photo above.  The twin Archimedes screw turbines are to be installed in early March 2021 and commissioning is in April. These turbines will generate around 300 Megawatt hours of electricity a year, as depending on river flow.

Our Turbine House will be constructed by volunteers with building experience to keep our costs down. However, we need to raise some extra money to cover the costs of the materials for the walls and roof. We also need to buy the security door which will prevent unauthorised access to the equipment. 

A great team of dedicated people have managed to progress this project despite COVID-19 and significant flooding at the start of the work. Now we are looking for your support to complete an important part of this ambitious community project. We need to raise a minimum of £4,000 to purchase the materials but we have a stretch goal of £10,000 to allow us to employ professional mural artists to paint our chosen mural (details on the final design are TBA).

we’d love for your support
our campaign closes 27th Februrary 2021

We’ve made it! £980,000 raised in successful share offer

Success! Thank you to all of our investors!

Reading Hydro CBS is pleased to announce that following the recent reopening of our Share Offer to new investment, we have been successful in reaching our revised target of £980,000 to build and operate twin Archimedes turbines by Caversham Weir in Reading, UK.

Successful Local-led investment

2020 has certainly been a challenging year, and it has been no different for Reading Hydro, as we reached a critical point for our project in the summer. Following on from our Share Offer Raise earlier this year in February, and after obtaining firm quotes and timescales for delivery of both our required infrastructure and equipment in the following months, the Board of Directors decided that a revised Share Offer and a reopening period was needed to ensure that the construction of twin Archimedes Screw hydro-electric turbines could go ahead by Caversham Weir.

We reopened our Revised Share Offer in August 2020 with a new target of £980,000, with current and new investors welcomed to join and build on their commitments to the project as to help us reach our revised target. We further extended the offer into early September as to allow more local investors their chance to get involved with the project, offsetting any ‘surplus’ against the £100,000 investment from our biggest institutional investor, Co-operatives UK. This extension has allowed us to ensure that 96% of our investors are people and businesses that are local to Reading and the Reading area – truly a phenomenal achievement for a project run by locals, for local benefit.

A Significant Milestone

Having closed the Share Offer following a successful raise, the Board of Directors are now placing into motion the next steps of the build and administration of the scheme. Our administrators, Sharenergy, will be contacting investors to formally issue their shares to them prior to the end of September – Reading Hydro asks that all investors keep an eye out for this communication, and that they should contact us at their earliest convenience if after September they have not received the official issuing of shares notifications.

Concurrently, the Board are also working with our Civils contractor, Land & Water, to prepare our site and start the process of building the foundations for the turbines. This work, scheduled to take place during the rest of 2020 by Caversham Weir, will be the first phase of building for the project, with the planned installation of the Spaans-Babcock Archimedes screws taking place in early 2021.

Our sincere thanks

The Board of Directors wish to thank all of our investors, members and volunteers who have committed themselves to this project to help ensure that clean energy from the River Thames becomes a reality for Reading. there is a long way to go yet, but we are confident that we are making real progress in delivering sustainable energy for the benefit of the Reading community.

With Many Thanks,

The Directors,
Reading Hydro CBS Ltd

Group of Reading Hydro members celebrating by Caversham Weir
Thank you to all our members and investors for making our share offer a success!