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Hydro Power

Hydro-power

What is it?

Hydro power technologies harness water’s energy and use simple mechanics to convert that potential energy into electricity. It is the equivalent of a water wheel. Hydro power is a mature and proven technology and it is perhaps the oldest method of harnessing renewable energy. Micro hydro, also sometimes known as mini hydro is used for hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100kW of power, and is suitable for homes or small communities.

How does it work?

Hydro power technologies harness water’s energy and use simple mechanics to convert that potential energy into electricity. It is the equivalent of a water wheel. Hydro power is a mature and proven technology and it is perhaps the oldest method of harnessing renewable energy. Micro hydro, also sometimes known as mini hydro is used for hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100kW of power, and is suitable for homes or small communities.

Is it suitable?

  • You’ll need a fast flowing river or stream near your property/ the electricity demand to be served.
  • A back up power system will be needed if the water flow diminishes or dries up.
  • Early consultation with your Local Authority is recommended as planning permission will have to be granted.
  • The Environment Agency also has to agree to the scheme and provide a licence. 
  • An annual service will be necessary (usually undertaken during the summer when the plant is likely to be generating less due to lower water levels).
  • Hydro power can be captured wherever a flow of water falls from a higher level to a lower level. This may occur where a stream runs down a hillside, or a river passes over a waterfall, or a man-made weir, or where a reservoir discharges water back into the main river.
  • The vertical fall of the water, known as the head, is essential for hydro power generation; fast flowing water on its own does not contain sufficient energy for useful power production. Hence you need a Flow Rate of water and ‘head’ for hydro power – it is generally better to have more ‘head’ than ‘flow’, since this keeps the equipment operating efficiently.

What are the benefits?

  • Small scale hydro schemes tend to have long lifetimes.
  • Maintenance costs are usually low, and regular maintenance is restricted to tasks such as ensuring the intake ‘trash rack’ is clean of debris, and greasing parts of the generating equipment.
  • Hydro electricity is green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants.
  • Reduces the cost of your electricity bills, as electricity is free to use during generation periods.
  • Hydro systems can be expensive, but in many cases installation is less costly than getting a connection to the National Grid.
  • A hydro system may generate more electricity than you need for lighting and powering your home appliances, so you can use the excess to export to the Grid or heat your home and hot water too.

Contact Us

 

Tel: 01304 872128

Email: energy@dover.gov.uk

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