THE Duke of Marlborough has switched on a new hydropower scheme in the grounds of the stately home in West Oxfordshire where he lives.

The Archimedean screw turbine at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock was installed by Hallidays Hydropower.

Its chief engineer Henry Reily-Collins said: “The Duke loved it — he’s more tech-savvy than I realised.

“I’m now working on setting it up so that he can check how much energy it’s generating on his iPad wherever he is.”

The Culham resident, 29, added: “It was a big day for us, we’ve been working on this project for three years.”

The £180,000 project will generate electricity to power the Woodstock palace and the estate’s homes. It is hoped the scheme, powered by the 11.5-tonne screw, will save the palace between £19,000 and £26,000 a year.

The Duke of Marlborough said: “I believe in the importance of creating and using sustainable energy sources here at Blenheim Palace, for the good of the environment and to support the running of this great estate.

“I have taken a keen interest in the project and worked alongside the property team where required to ensure delivery.”

Hallidays Hydropower is working on a second turbine at the palace, a mile away from the first one at Blenheim lake dam, and closer to the palace.

It will cost another £180,000.