How much power will my site develop?

To work out how much power is available from a site you require two important figures, namely the head and the flow. The head is the difference in surface levels between two bodies of water, such as the height difference either side of a weir. The flow is described as the volume of water flowing past a given point in a given unit of time, this is measured in cubic meters per second (m3/s).
Power = Head X Flow X 7

As a rule a minimum head of 1m is needed.

How much will it cost?

There is no definite £/kW installed figure as each project has its own unique set of circumstances, ecology and hydrology. The chart below gives an indication of £/kW installed and is based on information published by the British Hydropower Association (BHA).

What is a feasibility study?

A feasibility study is a document put together as the first stage of a project. It is a study of your site that includes a site visit from us, and a report that outlines potential turbine types, locations, positions, sizes, power output, annual energy capture, initial hydrology studies, approximate scheme costs/revenues/returns, and initial scheme description. We can also identify any limiting factors that may affect the scheme. This document will give you a good understanding of your site, what its potential is, and whether it is worthwhile continuing to the next stage of the project.

How does the turbine generate me an income?

Through a combination of available subsidies e.g. Feed In Tariff payments (FITs), electricity sales and, possibly, through savings of energy used in your own premises.

How long does it take for a turbine to repay itself?

This varies from project to project. For smaller schemes the payback is typically around 10 years. Larger schemes tend to return more quickly.

What are FITs?

On 1st April 2010 UK government introduced an incentive scheme for green energy generation capacity development called the Feed in Tariff scheme (FITs). It was introduced to help the UK reach its 2020 targets for renewable energy. The aim of FITs is to increase the number of renewable generators in the UK.

*The current FiT scheme will close to new entrants in April 2019.

The FITs are:

  • Guaranteed for 20 years from the date of installation.
  • Tax free income.
  • Index linked to inflation*.
How long does it tend to take to install a hydro?

Typically 4 years from concept to completion. The majority of the time is taken up in planning, consenting, and design. Construction of a sub 1MW scheme will typically take a year to complete. Larger schemes, or schemes located in areas where winter weather conditions are particularly harsh, can take longer to construct.

What licences do I need?

In England and Wales the main licence is called an abstraction licence. This is a licence to abstract water from a river to put through the turbine. This is required for every type of turbine. If a new weir, or modifications to an old one, are proposed you will also need an impoundment licence. An additional licence is needed to construct the hydro and install any necessary temporary works.
In Scotland a single Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) licence is needed, this one licence covers all activities connected with the development of your hydro.

What studies do I need to have to receive an abstraction licence?

There are many studies that may be required to licence your hydro, as a minimum these will include ecology, hydrology and a topographic survey. Hydro Survey Limited will guide you through the necessary studies specific to your site.

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