A MONMOUTH man has built his own hydropower station after discovering the foundations of a 110 year old hydropower station near the River Monnow.

Ronald Kear, director of Old Manor Electric Company, made the discovery while working on the site back in 1998.

He had originally bought the site, which had a factory on it, with the view of building a home on there.

After knocking down the factory and discovering concrete works, Monmouthshire Museum helped him make the identification.

When watching a television programme on renewable energy a year later, the idea of replacing the power station came to Mr Kear.

This led to the 54-year-old speaking to the Environment Agency Wales who he discovered were looking at building a £600,000 fish pass at the Osbaston Weir on the river to allow salmon to enter and spawn in the river.

This was after fish had been unable to pass through the river for nearly 300 years due to the height of the weir which is 11ft. The pass was completed in 2008 and funded through the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance allocated by the Welsh European Funding Office.

Mr Kear worked in partnership with Environment Agency Wales and invested £500,000 to build the power station alongside the fish pass.

A total of 670,000 KwH of electricity is now produced at the site each year - enough to power 152 homes.

Mr Kear, who also lives on the site, uses this electricity to power his own home before selling the rest onto the National Grid. The heat generated by the motor is also channelled back to Mr Kear’s home.

He said: “It is a very very green form of electricity. I hope this system will still be going in 2100.”

The power station, which took 15 months to complete with around 30 people being involved in the work, started generating electricity in February this year. It will be officially opened on September 23 along with the fish pass by the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward.

The power station works using a reverse principle based on Archimedes screw.

The system sees two Archimedes screws in place next to the fish pass which attract the fish to the pass. The fish can then swim upstream through the pass.

At the same time water flows down the screws and by connecting these to a generator, green electricity is produced.