A COMMUNITY group behind the £500,000 power-generating project at Osney Lock has said it is nearing completion.

Plans to build the first community-owned turbine on the Thames were first proposed up in 2001.

Now excitement is building as the second and final stage of the scheme is coming together.

The hydro project will generate 165,500kwh of electricity a year, equivalent to the amount needed to power more than 50 houses.

One of the people behind the project, Barbara Hammond, said: “I almost can’t let myself think about it being finished.

“It will be amazing.

“Now we are actually planning the bit that will make it work it is incredible. We are actually getting there.”

Last year, the group behind the hydro project – Osney Lock Hydro Ltd – raised £320,000 in 10 days by selling shares largely to residents living locally around Osney.

Building work first started in July, and work on the first phase of the scheme finished in December shortly before flooding hit Oxford.

If the work hadn’t finished, the project could have faced long delays as the temporary dam which was fitted in the weir would have had to be dismantled, flooding the weir halfway through building.

During the first phase the concrete base work in the weir was finished ready for the power-generating Archimedes screw to be installed.

The 3.5m wide by 5m long steel screw is part of the second phase of work due to start in March and finish by May.

Dr Hammond added: “This next bit is really the purpose of the whole thing.

“What we have done until now is a lump if concrete – beautifully done, thank you very much – but it is all about getting the screw in and generating energy so it is really exciting to be at that stage now.”

The energy will be sold to the Environment Agency rather than going to the National Grid.