Micro-hydro Power. Introduction. What is hydropower? System types. Power the entire farm Generate power to sell back to the national grid

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1 Cronfa Amaethyddol Ewrop ar gyfer Datblygu Gwledig: Ewrop yn Buddsoddi mewn Ardaloedd Gwledig The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing in Rural Areas Micro-hydro Power Introduction Hydropower represents one of the most cost effective and reliable renewable energy technologies and if carefully located, can bring many advantages to farmers and rural businesses. It can reduce business energy costs and provide income from the sale of any surplus energy to the National Grid. This factsheet provides a brief overview of hydropower and helps readers to assess whether it is suited to their site. What is hydropower? Micro-hydro is the production of electricity by the flow of water. It works by using falling water to drive a turbine and a generator. The amount of energy generated depends on two factors: 1) The flow the rate at which water flows through the intake each second 2) The head the drop between the intake and the turbine A head of m is a typical minimum starting point. Micro hydropower systems usually have a water intake above a weir or dam. Some of the water flowing along a river is re-directed into the intake, which screens for debris and fish to prevent them entering the turbine. From the intake, water runs through a channel or pipe (penstock) where it falls down through one or more turbines. The kinetic and potential energy of the falling water is extracted by the turbine, which drives a generator to produce power. The water is returned to the river afterwards. The best sites are on steep hills, with fast fl owing water (SWEA). Hydropower can be used in a number of ways within a business. On a farm, hydropower can be used to Power the entire farm Generate power to sell back to the national grid Hydro Power produces no pollution in operation and does not emit carbon dioxide, so it is a climate friendly energy option. Schemes generating up to 50 kw can power several homes, farms or business units. Very small schemes with less than 4kW output can produce more than enough electricity to power an average home. Seasonal variation is an important factor in any proposed project as it would not be economic to have a hydro system offline in the summer months due to lack of rainfall. System types Hydro projects are generally categorised in terms of their maximum energy production as follows: Large Hydro - Over 5MW(5000kW) Small Hydro - Under 5MW Micro Hydro - Under 50kW There are different types of technology that can be installed depending on the type of river and turbine. It is recommended you seek expert advice for the most suitable technology at your site. Power a remote building

2 Specialist advice should be sought to confirm the most suitable arrangement, as each project will be site specific. For example, depending on the type of turbine chosen, you may need to provide screening to protect local fish and a fish pass to help their migration. Things to consider Before choosing whether or not to install hydropower, there are some key issues to consider Access to a river or stream It is important to have a river or stream close to where you are going to use the electricity. Not all rivers are suitable for hydropower and early investigations are required. You must also ensure that you have rights of access to the water source and any adjoining land required to build, operate and maintain the scheme. Connection to the Grid or standalone It is important to determine at the outset where the electricity will be used. The electricity generated by a scheme may be used at the point of generation i.e. on site or it may be exported to the local grid. Your electricity supplier will buy this back from you at a fixed price. You do not require permission from your Distribution Network Operator (DNO-Western Power) on schemes less than 4kW as long as you provide notification within 28 days of connection. The installer normally completes this on your behalf. If the maximum output exceeds 4kW you will be required to obtain permission to connect via the DNO. This may involve a fee for enhancing or extending the network to take the additional supply you will be exporting into it. Again the installer normally completes this on your behalf. Planning Permission All hydropower schemes require planning permission so it is advised to speak to your local planning authority early on. You should consider how a micro-hydro scheme would impact on the surrounding environment. For example, will the pipeline be buried? Will it disturb migratory patterns of fish and result in death? Environmental consent Natural Resources Wales (NRW) now regulates the installation and operation of hydropower schemes. You will therefore require permission to operate a system. Before applying for formal permission we recommend you complete a pre-application form to help NRW understand your proposals, tell you how successful your application is likely to be and to advise you of which specific permits you may need. NRW can be consulted at an early stage and will provide guidance on the following Abstraction: You need NRW permission If you are diverting water away from the main line of flow of the river. Impoundment Any new or raised weir will change the water levels and flows in a river by impounding more water above it. NRW will need to agree these changes. Flood Risk You will need agreement for any works

3 in or near rivers that have the potential to increase flood risk. This includes both the construction works and the finished scheme. Fish Passage For many schemes, NRW will require a fish pass to allow fish to pass safely up and down the river. Always seek expert advice Hydro installations are extremely site specific and there are many turbine and generator options available. It is important to get professional advice to confirm the suitable arrangement for your site. Details of installation companies and products can be found at: org. Choosing and installing the right system can be a complex process involving an indepth site assessment and evaluation of suitable systems. It is recommended that you obtain at least 3 representative quotations. All suppliers should be able to provide a detailed breakdown of the specification and costs. They should also be able to explain how they have calculated the size of the system to be appropriate to your needs. They should supply good quality instructions and operating manuals, as well as provide an estimate of how much electricity will be generated by any proposed installation. Maintenance Hydropower systems have a lifespan of years with low running and maintenance costs. Your installer will normally provide written details of any maintenance checks you should undertake but always consult with the supplier for any exact maintenance requirements. Batteries and Inverters On a good site, you may not require any batteries or an inverter (to step from DC to AC voltage) as the turbine will produce 240 AC and can just be turned on when needed. Cost Hydro installations are extremely site specific and the capital costs can be high. Prices vary widely depending on the type and size of system. Machinery (type of turbine used, gearbox or drive belts, generator and the water inlet control valve). Civil works (the intake, forbay tank and screen, the pipeline/channel to carry water to the turbine, the turbine house and machinery foundations and the tailrace channel to return water back to the river). Electrical works (including the control panel and control system, the wiring within the turbine house, the transformer and connection). External costs (including professional services to design and manage the installation plusthe costs of obtaining licences, planning permission etc). When preparing estimates it is important to allow for the full costs of the above. Example: System Size 1kW 5kW Grid/ Off Grid Approx Cost Off Grid (plus installation costs) Grid (plus installation costs) Running costs normally consist of: Leasing charges if the land is rented (in which case expect to pay around 5% of the annual revenue). Metering charges for larger schemes. Maintenance and serving costs. Insurance (including material damage insurance, business interruption insurance and public and employers liability insurance). Actual savings with any project will depend on: System size.

4 Seasonal variation. Water flow. Cost of electricity being replaced by using a hydro system. (Information above amended from The British Hydropower Association A Guide to UK Mini-Hydro Developments ) Finance Business Rates Business rates may be payable if you export energy back into the Grid which exceeds the de minimus threshold. If the energy produced is used to power your own agricultural operations and/or farmhouse, you will probably be exempt. In any instance it is advised that you contact your local District Valuation Office to confirm prior to any commitment. Climate Change Levy (CCL) Hydropower also qualifies for levy exemption certificates, which will reduce your overall tax bill. Feed in Tariffs (FiTS) FiTs are the Government s cash back scheme offered to eligible installations that generate electricity from renewable sources under 5MW capacity. Small-scale hydropower installations will receive an annual payment for all the electricity generated no matter how it is used (Generation Tariff). Any electricity exported to the Grid will receive a set Export Tariff and any electricity you use yourself will save money on your electricity bill (see separate factsheet for further information). Capital Funding If you receive a public sector grant to install a hydro scheme you will be ineligible to receive FiTs as it is considered as double funding. This should be carefully considered before committing to any project. Risks Ensure that performance claims are based on installed turbines rather than theoretical data. Where feasible check with another user with similar system and flow rates to ensure that performance claims stack up (this will affect your payback period). Unfortunately local opposition can be a problem when preparing a planning application. Hydro installations on rivers populated by migrating species of fish (e.g. salmon or trout) are subject to special treatments. Migratory fish must not be ingested into the turbine and there must be a water passage by passing the hydro-plant at all times so that fish can migrate up or downstream. If the maximum output of a system exceeds 4kW you will be required to obtain permission to connect to the Grid via the DNO. Work maybe needed to upgrade the line and could result in unforeseen delays and potentially very significant costs for higher outputs so it is worthwhile making contact early. Opportunities Installation of hydro systems can represent an excellent revenue stream to diversify into with the availability of FiTs over the next 20 years. A hydro system can generate 24 hours a day, often generating all the electricity you need and more. Installing an off grid hydro system is less than the cost of getting a connection to the National Grid if you don t already have one. Hydroelectricity does not emit carbon dioxide, so it is a climate friendly energy option. Whilst reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information is correct at time of print, Caerphilly County Borough Council makes no representation as to its accuracy and accepts no liability for any errors or omissions. The content of this factsheet may not be reproduced in any form without written permission. Last Updated November 2013 This publication is available in Welsh and in other languages and formats on request. Mae r cyhoeddiad hwn ar gael yn Gymraeg, ac mewn ieithoedd a fformatau eraill ar gais.

5 For further information: To contact RDP Sustainable Energy Officers: Kelly Silcox Telephone Melanie Phillips Telephone British Hydropower Association DECC MCS Natural Resources Wales Ofgem Renewable Energy Association Renewable Energy Consumer Code Welsh Government

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