Osney Lock Hydro is taking part in this year’s Oxford Open Doors on the afternoon of Sunday 12th September.
Situated next to Osney Lock in the heart of Oxford, Osney Lock Hydro is the first community-owned hydro built on the Thames. The hydro uses a reverse Archimedean screw to turn the power of the river into electricity. The roof of the building also incorporates transparent solar panels, maximising the generation capacity of the site. In total, our predicted annual generation is 186,000 kWh – equivalent to the power used by around 56 homes.
Plans for the project first started in 2002, when a survey of the local community showed strong support for the scheme. After years of planning and fundraising, the hydro scheme finally started generating electricity in the Spring of 2015. The hydro design also includes a fish pass, making this section of the river freely passable to fish for the first time in two centuries.
Osney Lock Hydro is an entirely volunteer-run organisation and is owned by its 200 Members, who between them invested £640,000 to build the generation project.
Surpluses from the scheme will be used to support further local environmental projects. In total we hope to provide over £2 million support during the lifetime of the project.
Looking forward, we would like to use the hydro as a platform from which to tell the story of our river, and from which people can learn about renewable energy generation and explore the social and industrial heritage of our community.
The site is currently open to visitors by appointment only. Please note that the site has uneven surfaces and is close to water. Children are welcome to attend but must be under the close supervision of an adult.
How do I book?
Tickets are free but limited, and booking is essential. Please arrive within 10 minutes of the start of your booked slot to help us manage numbers on site.
How do I get there?
Osney Island is just a few minutes’ walk from Oxford train station and bus stops on the Botley Road. If travelling by car, please use the Park and Ride and take the bus to the Osney Island stop. You can see our position on a map on our website.
The tour involves walking a few hundred metres along the towpath and over rough grass. Access to the main site is via the towpath and is step-free. If you have any hearing, visibility or mobiity impairment, please contact the organisers in advance so we can understand how we can best facilitate your visit.
For the safety of our visitors we are restricting the number of visitors to the site and regret we will not be able to open up the power house or walkway. We ask that all visitors to the site respect social distancing guidelines at all times. To reduce ‘touch points’ on the site we will not be providing leaflets this year, but you can download a copy here: OLH information leaflet
Track and Trace Register
To support the NHS Track and Trace register we will be retaining details of the lead member of a booking group for 21 days after the event.
Facilities on site
Please note there are no toilets on site.
What if I can no longer attend?
We only have a limited number of places on each tour so please let us know as soon as possible if you are no longer able to attend.
How do I contact the organisers?
Please email us via the contacts page