Hydroelectric Screw Generators in Rhede: Providing power for more than 100 households

In 2006, Stadtwerke Rhede municipal utilities put the first screw turbine in the state of NRW into operation as a pilot project on the Bocholter Aa river. A further plant was put into operation further along the river in 2012. The principle of the Archimedean screw enables optimal ecological and economical energetic exploitation of the available kinetic water potential in consideration of environmental protection and nature conservation.

Everyone is coming to the screw turbine festival at Pentecost: Big and small, anglers, local explorers, hikers, cyclists, picnickers and families are all meeting and taking part. Cheerful music is played at the festival and the German Mill Day. The location is building on its history and getting ready for the future. From 1909 on, water power was already being used to produce electricity with the help of a turbine. Initially, the water power served a sawmill and later the city lighting. Today the plant, which uses the principle of the Archimedean screw, generates electricity for approximately 100 homes. Identification with the plant is high. According to surveys by Stadtwerke Rhede municipal utilities, 95 per cent of the population expressed a positive attitude toward this sustainable form of energy production. It is also about visualisation and the awareness that electricity is a valuable commodity and of the ways in which base-load capable energy supply can be realised in harmony with natural resources.

Engine for progress:

• in Rhede, electricity is produced for 100 homes using hydropower
• the screw turbine festival provides information on freshwater ecology and climate protection
• a second plant has already been realised
• new jobs and competence fields have been opened up

1 of 6

Photo: Stadtwerke Rhede GmbH

For more than 100 years, Rhede has been a centre for the use of hydropower. Since 1909, water has been used to produce electricity at the small location on the Bocholter Aa river. The former mill building was torn down at the end of the 1960's. However, since 2006 a new dam house has adorned the dam on the river.

Taking nature into consideration

During planning, particular importance was placed on a high level of ecological compatibility. A fish pass allows fish to travel up the river unhindered. The screw section of the plant and the fish pass are both used to travel back down again. Because the fish can pass so well here, it is ensured that the Bocholter Aa can develop further into an extremely species-rich habitat. Up to 1,000 fish of many species migrate through the plant every day. This was confirmed in an investigation by an independent expert in a continuous two-year scientific investigation. The Rhede Anglers' Association supported the project with a whole load of expertise and passion.

Energetic potentials in the case of small-scale hydropower

The use of small-scale hydropower with expandable potentials of up to five gigawatts is making an important contribution to the transformation of the energy system: Because there is potential for further hydropower plants in NRW – Rhede can be an example for other possible locations. Stadtwerke Rhede municipal utilities bundled competences in the area of renewable energies in 2008 and established a subsidiary, Rhegio Natur GmbH.

Photo: Privat

"In the course of such a project, one gets to know many people, who know exactly why it will never work and who even get paid for this.
But one also gets to know many positive thinkers, who do much more than they have to in order for the project to succeed."

Dr.-Ing. Ronald Heinze, Managing Director of Stadtwerke Rhede municipal utilities

Partners and sponsors

  • Stadtwerke Rhede
  • Stadt Rhede
  • Ministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz (MKULNV)

Further reading & downloads