Queen Elizabeth II plans to use water from the River Thames to help power Windsor Castle in the Royal family's latest environmental project, Buckingham Palace announced Monday.
LONDON Queen Elizabeth II plans to use water from the River Thames to help power Windsor Castle in the Royal family's latest environmental project, Buckingham Palace announced Monday.
The 1 million pound (US$1.7 million; euro1.4 million) project, to be completed by the end of 2006, will power nearly one-third of Windsor Castle -- the largest occupied castle in the world. Buckingham Palace said it was pleased that approval had been granted to power the residence.
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and other members of the Royal household have long embraced environmental causes and projects. The Queen's husband, Prince Phillip, uses a taxi powered by natural gas when he is driven around London. Previously he used an electrically driven minibus.
"We're constantly looking at ways of saving energy. We use energy efficient light bulbs at Buckingham Palace," an announcement said.
The project will generate 200 kilowatts of electricity from four turbines that will be submerged in an existing weir, or dam system, near the castle. According to the palace, the underwater turbines will be virtually invisible and silent.
This project should also contribute to an effort by the government to produce 10 percent of the country's power from renewable sources by 2010 and 15 percent by 2015. The targets are part of an effort to help combat global warming.
Environmental groups say that small scale electricity production, using solar, wind or water systems could help Britain meet those targets.
"We're delighted that the queen is taking a lead in the use of green electricity to help tackle global warming," said Tony Juniper, director of the environmental group Friends of the Earth. "Most homes wouldn't use hydroelectricity, but they could install solar panels or small wind turbines instead."
Source: Associated Press