Plans for water turbine in River Teviot at Hawick given thumbs-up

How an Archimedean screw planned at the Cauld in Hawick would look.
How an Archimedean screw planned at the Cauld in Hawick would look.

Proposals to install an ancient type of water turbine in the River Teviot at Hawick have been approved by council planners.

Hawick Community Energy Group is hoping to set up an Archimedean screw at the Cauld, near the town’s high school, by the end of 2021.

Such turbines generate electricity by allowing water and gravity to turn a part-submerged screw.

The weight of water fed into the top of the screw, positioned at an angle, causes it to turn, generating, via a dynamo, low-carbon electricity.

Hawick community councillor Andy Maybury chairs the energy group, and he said: “It’s very much a community project. It came out of the Hawick flood protection scheme discussions, when one of the questions put forward was what else could we include for the good of the town?

“Historically, Hawick has used the power of the water to power the mills that line the river. We want to use the power of the water to once again power the town of Hawick.”

Hawick Community Council first carried out a feasibility study in 2016, and it found the project would be viable.

Later that year, the community energy group was founded to take the project forward.

Mr Maybury predicts that the screw will generate 300 megawatt hours per year of electricity, enough to power 100 homes.

“It will power something like a third of the high school’s energy usage per year,” he said.

The plans sparked objections from residents fearful of heightened flood risk and negative impact on the environment and the landscape.

Despite triggering 11 objections, the application was decided by council officers using delegated powers as only two were received during a statutory publication period running from December 14 until January 4.