Herefordshire Hydro

 
 
BATTLE AHEAD OVER POWER PLAN FOR RIVERS

Sunday Telegraph, 07/03/10 page 2
RICHARD GRAY Science Correspondent
Rivers could be har­nessed to generate electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes with the building of up to 26,000 controversial hydro power turbines around the country, a report will say tomorrow.

The Environment Agency will reveal that the water wheels have the potential to generate enough electricity to power 850,000 homes ­more than three per cent of Britain's residential electric­ity demand.

A study commissioned by the government body has concluded that there is vast untapped potential across England and Wales for gen­erating energy from rivers. Waterways in Wales, the upper reaches of the Thames, the Humber, the Aire, Severn and the Mersey have been identified as having the most potential.

If all the turbines were built, it would cost around £4 billion. The money would be paid by the private opera­tors of each scheme, who would receive subsidies from energy customers.

The report has identified at least 5,000 sites around England and Wales where small to medium-scale schemes could be built eas­ily. A further 21,000 sites could be developed if suita­ble steps were taken to ensure the river ecology was protected.

The proposals have met with strong criticism from national fishing organisa­tions and countryside cam­paigners .. They say hydro­power turbines could become eyesores and have devastating impacts on migrating fish such as trout and salmon

Tim Grayling the head of climate change and sustain­able development at the Environment Agency, insisted that any schemes being built would have to conform to strict environ­mental regulations, includ­ing the installation of chan­nels to allow fish to migrate up and down stream.

He said: "Hydropower is a well established and reliable way of generating power. We believe it can play an impor­tant role in meeting the tar­gets set by the government on reducing carbon emis­sions but we have got to ensure that they do not impact on other pal'ts of the environment, such as fish populations and flood risk."

The potential for hydro­power across the UK will be revealed in a. report titled Opportunity and Environ­mental Sensitivity Mapping in England and Wales.

It will identify several hot spots where the potential for generating hydropower is particularly high, with the largest concentrations on the rivers Severn, Thames, Aire and Neath.

Not all of the 26,000 iden­tified sites will necessarily be developed, so the actual electricity generated is likely to be far less. The majority of the schemes are likely to be reverse Archimedes screws, where water is funnelled down a screw-shaped blade to rotate a turbine.

Landowners, local communities and energy firms could work together to build turbines on the rivers, with initial set-up costs averaging £100,000 to £150,000. If fish paths and screening has to be installed to protect fish, then costs will quickly rise.

Such schemes would be subsidised by the Govern­ment's new feed-in tariff for renewable energy, which allows householders and landowners to sell excess electricity from micro-gen­erators on their property on to the National Grid.

Electricity producers would receive up to 20p for every kilowatt hour of elec­tricity they generated, mean­ing a medium-sized hydro­power scheme that generates enough power for 32 homes could receive £25,000 a year.

Critics point out that the cost of supporting projects like these will be passed on to householders through energy bills. Consumers already pay £13.50 a year in energy bills to support large­scale renewable schemes such as wind farms.

The Angling Trust reacted angrily to the proposals. Dr Alan Butterworth, the trust's technical director and a former expert on the impact of hydropower on fisheries with the Environment Agency, said: "This type of hydropower can do a mas­sive amount of damage to the ecology of our rivers and block the migration of fish."

The Government has set targets to obtain at least 30 per cent of the country's electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Renewables currently make up only 5.5 per cent of electricity. There are 307 small-scale hydropower schemes in the UK, includ­ing many that use traditional water wheels used by former mills.

See also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/hydro_electricenergy/7384533/British-rivers-could-power-850000-homes.html
and
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/7399290/Waterwheel-builders-hampered-in-producing-power-from-the-old-mill-by-the-stream.html


Comment from a Hydropower developer

Re: The UK Feed in Tarrif and its effects on Hydropower
Posted by: "jonaaal@ymail.com" jona.aal@gmail.com jonaaal@ymail.com
Date: Wed Mar 3, 2010 1:07 pm ((PST))

In response to the fact that there is not as yet an agreed standard, there is an oppourtunity to take part in the consultation that will decide those guidelines Details can be found here:
http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/Consultations
I would suggest that anyone in the UK small renewables market, particularly hydro, get involved with this process.
Craig,

In response to your comments below, i generally agree with you sentiment, and am frustrated (have been for several years now..) with the newest piece of badly thought through legislation.

Of the many flaws with the MCS scheme and the requirements for FITs, there are some which are very specific to hydro, and these ought to be raised with in the consultation.

As you have outlined below, the "off the shelf" solution which they will undoubtably be looking for does not exist for hydro, and there are repercussions for many people who have or will install systems.

Firstly the designer/installer who if only given a small number of accredited machines, will not be able to specify the best system for any given site, as his/her design will be to fit a square peg in a round hole rather than find a round peg.

Secondly, the owner who has installed a system with the capacity to expand as their consumption increases over time. They will no longer be able to sell a second hand, but perfectly working machine as the requirement for new equipment to always be specified to meet the FITs guidelines will effectively wipe out the value of a used machine - surely some of the victorian machines that are still working around the world are actually better than the modern equivalent, bearings can be replaced, pelton runners do NOT wear out!

Thirdly, those who would install equipment such as pump as turbines will not be eligible for any money, not even ROCs, as they will never meet the requirements to fit equipment designed for its intended use.

My solution to these and the other issues (too many to list here right now) would be to have a comprehensive inspection service (paid for of course) to make sure that installations were fit for purpose and that the cowboys were shut down. I intend to suggest this to the consultation using the form on the website.
Those of you who have issues please get writing
Jona

--- In microhydro@yahoogroups.com, ian benson <iandesignandbuild@...> wrote
On Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 6:09 PM, catmilltech <craig@...>wrote:
Hello Group,
I'm not sure how many of the group members are in the UK as this is really only of significance to them. So my apologies to the rest of the world! Last week the UK Government announced how it intends to implement the new Feed in Tariff to support renewable energy generation. Basically the tariff will replace the Renewables Obligation scheme for installations under 50Kw and will make a payment for every KWh generated. On the face of it it sounds quite good with a reasonable payment rate, index linking and tax free if in a domestic setting.
HOWEVER, now the bad bit starts. In their wisdom they have decided that the payment will only be made to schemes, which use "accredited" products and are installed by "accredited" installers. The problem is there are currently no accredited products or accredited installers in the UK and currently there is no means of becoming accredited as they are still arguing about the requirements! In the short term they will have a "transitional period" which will allow equipment builders to sell equipment and installation companies
to install providing they "promise" to become accredited when the requirements are finally sorted out.. Effectively you are "promising" to do something yet to be defined and yet to be priced. Accreditation requirements aside, the problem actually lies in the accreditation being a requirement of the Feed in Tariff. (It was not a requirement of the Renewable Obligation, which it replaces) The industry
lobbied hard to get this requirement taken out of the draft proposal but DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) who are formulating this whole debacle ignored everyone. Compared to Europe, and the rest of the world, the UK microhydro industry
is tiny. However it is growing and in recent years the number of installations has seen a steady increase to around 40 new sites a year. Up to 2003 there were less than 30 grid connected (sub 50Kw) hydro installations in the UK. Since then this number has grown to over 100. The reason this has happened is the availability of reasonably priced equipment, a greater awareness of environmental issues, the increasing cost of electricity and the Renewables Obligation scheme. The vast majority, over 80%, of the new sites were not installed by big companies but by site owners who used their own organisational and practical skills to get the scheme in at an affordable cost. Yes, they took advice from the so-called experts but their perseverance and cost effectiveness were the primary factors in getting a viable scheme up and running. We are now faced with the prospect of all these "user installed" schemes being a thing of the past. The accreditation body estimates there will be only 5 or 6 accredited installers for the whole of the UK. so it is not difficult to
imagine that number of installations will fall and installation prices will rise. Other companies whose core business is in other renewable technologies will simply walk away from microhydro. The other major concern is that the decline in the number of installations will cut the demand for equipment and therefore threaten the viability of the (very few) small firms supplying the industry with specialist equipment i.e. Turbines and control systems. Without these companies we will be back to where we were 8 years ago as it will be some time before others come forward to fill the gaps…if they ever do. In terms of the implementation of the new tariff the UK government fails to realise that hydro installations are very different from solar or wind and cannot be treated in the same way. Hydro installations are all different in nature and bespoke built; there are no "off the shelf " solutions. The purpose of the Feed in Tariff was to promote the installation of renewable energy schemes and reduce our reliance on carbon-based technologies. As far as micro hydropower is concerned, because of the accreditation requirement, it will do the complete opposite and will put the industry back many years. Anyone with an interest in UK micro hydro needs to be aware of this and contact their local MPs and spread the word in any other way possible. We need to get this accreditation requirement removed before the Bill is put before parliament. Thank you for your time and apologies for the long post. Craig Taylor Ecowave Systems Clapton Mill, UK






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