The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils

Micro Hydro Power

What is mico hydro power?
Hydro power systems generate electricity using running water to turn a turbine to produce power.  Micro hydro systems produce less than 100kw but are seen as an increasingly popular means of domestic electricity production because they can generate power from small water sources such as a stream.

What are the benefits?
Although initial installation costs can be quite high, an independent hydro system will not be followed by any electricity bills.  A hydro system can generate a reliable source of electricity for properties in more remote areas where connection to the main power grid would be expensive or impossible.  A good hydro system would not only be a source of low cost power for lighting and electrical appliances, but could also provide hot water and heating if sufficient excess power is generated.  Installation costs will vary depending on the site and size of the scheme.

How does it work?
Hydro power uses the movement of water to drive a turbine to produce electricity.  This could be flowing water (such as a stream or river) or water falling from a height (such as a waterfall).  Depending on the speed of the flow, small systems could generate maximum efficiencies of between 60-80% whilst larger systems with a higher flow rate could achieve more than 90%.

Grants available
The Community Sustainable Energy Programme (CSEP) is an open grants programme run by BRE, an award partner of the Big Lottery Fund. Part of the Fund's Changing Spaces programme, CSEP has been set up to help not-for-profit community based organisations in England to reduce their energy bills and environmental impact. Both capital and project development grants are available under this scheme. Capital grants are available for the purchase and installation of a range of low carbon technologies such as solar water heating, photovoltaics or wood fuelled boilers, along with various energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall insulation. Project Development Grants are available for feasibility studies. See http://www.communitysustainable.org.uk/

More information - British Hydro Power: www.british-hydro.org

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