Why Mini or Micro scale Hydro?

Small-scale hydro is one of the most long term cost-effective and reliable energy technologies to be considered for providing clean electricity generation. Hydropower is the nation’s most available, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy source requiring only the power of moving water from rivers and streams.
Weir on the river Camowen, Omagh

Weir on the river Camowen, Omagh

Small scale hydropower systems capture the energy in flowing water and converts it to usable energy. Although the potential for small hydro-electric systems depends on the availablity of suitable water flow, where the resource exists it can provide cheap clean reliable electricity. A well designed small hydropower system can blend with its surroundings and have minimal negative environmental impacts.
 Benefits of small scale hydropower:
  • A high conversion efficiency (70 – 90%), by far the best of all energy technologies.
  • A high capacity factor (typically >50%), compared with <10% for solar and around 30% for wind.
  • A high level of predictability, varying with annual rainfall patterns.
  • Slow rate of change; the output power varies only gradually from day to day (not from minute to minute).
  • A good correlation with demand i.e. output is maximum in Winter.
  • Hydro produces a continuous supply of electrical energy in comparison to other small-scale renewable technologies. 24 hour generation i.e. works at night.
  • It is a long-lasting and robust technology; systems can readily be engineered to last for 50 years or more.
  • Well-designed schemes are also environmentally benign. Small hydro is in most cases “run-of-river”;  in other words any impoundment is quite small, often an existing weir, and little or no water stored.
  • Small hydro schemes have minimum visual impact on their surrounding environment
  • A climate-friendly energy source with  no direct CO 2 emissions from hydro projects.
Therefore run-of-river installations do not have the same kinds of adverse effect on the local environment as large-scale hydro, which involves a substantial dam and a more fundamental alteration to the downstream flow pattern.

Why micro and small scale hydro?

Why micro and small scale hydro?

Hydropower is a flexible technology, proven, improved and refined over many years, yet its site-specific features make it highly innovatory in application, which makes use of a wide range of available resources – micro, small or large, storage or run-of-river, and  including tidal, canals and even water treatment works. It is still one of the most inexpensive ways to generate power, playing an important role in our electricity system stability.
If you are the owner of an old mill site or a potential hydro site, would like to refurbish or replace a water wheel or a community group interested in developing a hydro project for community use we can help. Just contact us here and we will answer all queries and help you every step of the way with your proposed project.


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