About £100,000 has been set aside by council chiefs in Shrewsbury for major plans to generate power from the town's Castlefields weir, it was revealed this afternoon.
Shrewsbury Town Council has put the cash aside for the project which would see a turbine installed on the River Severn by the weir to generate electricity from the water.
The Shrewsbury Hydro Group, part of Transition Town Shrewsbury, is spearheading the project and says it could generate almost two million kilowatt hours of electricity every year – enough to power 350 homes for a year.
Now the town council has given its backing to the scheme and revealed it has set aside £100,000 from its reserves for 2012/13 to help the hydro electric group.
Town council leader Peter Nutting said if the scheme went ahead the authority planned to use the income to become self –sufficient.
He said: "We have put money aside and we are keen to see the project go ahead. It is subject to lots of issues but if the various people can get the project together the town council will be involved because part of the project is on land owned by the council.
"We are quite enthusiastic but it's got to make financial sense. It is a green project and we are looking for long- term income from it.
"In theory we would love to be self sufficient, and get enough money for the weir to pay for all our energy bills. We are always looking for ways to take away the burden from taxpayers."
The hydro group recently won £15,000 of funding from British Gas which paid for a number of surveys to test the suitability of the site for the turbine.
These included full flood risk, fish pass and a protected species surveys plus associated work so that everything is in place for planning purposes.
Work on the weir survey has begun, with the results due by the end of next month. If results confirm the scheme is viable a planning application would be lodged for a turbine.