A micro-hydropower revolution in the UK ?  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

The Guardian has an article on plans to expand micro-hydro generation in Britain - Canals and rivers to lead micro-hydropower revolution

Britain's canals and rivers have already been heralded as a low-carbon way to tranport Tesco groceries, a test-bed for hydrogen boats and a opportunity to build more wind turbines. Now they're being billed as a chance for micro hydropower to flourish under new plans unveiled today by British Waterways, which maintains 2,200 miles of the country's canals and rivers.

In partnership with The Small Hydro Company, British Waterways said it intended to build 25 small-scale hydro-electric schemes with a capacity of 40MW, enough to power 40,000 homes. While far smaller in capacity than offshore wind farms switched on in 2008, the hydro initiative hopes to raise £120m in private capital over the next three years, create 150 construction jobs and reduce CO2 emissions by 110,000 tonnes annually.

Underwater turbines will be installed next to existing weirs and will not affect the navigation of canals and rivers. Larger waterways such as the Trent and Severn rivers will be used for the first hydro power projects, with many of the installations likely to be located in the East Midlands and Yorkshire. It is hoped the first of the 25 hydro installations will be generating renewable electricity by 2010.

"Britain's waterways were the arteries of our economy, providing transport and power," said the environment secretary, Hilary Benn. "This scheme shows how with ingenuity and innovation they can once again deliver real economic, social, and environmental benefits, especially in tackling and adapting to climate change."

Last year British Waterways also announced plans to build wind turbines with 100MW of generating capacity, and more recently it said it wanted unused land by canals and rivers to be turned into allotments.

2 comments

Anonymous   says 5:37 PM

There is already a hydro station on the River Trent at Beeston, a suburb of Nottingham. I know because I went to school near there.

The Trent has an average flow of 100 cubic metres per second and there are a series of wiers along its length from Nottingham which is approximately 20 meters above sea level to Cromwell lock with a drop of about 2 metres at each one.

Given that one metre cubed of water falling 1 metre every second will generate 7 kilowatts of electrical power with a suitable turbine that makes about 1.4MW of power from each weir.

I can't see why the UK govt hasn't thought about this before.

I went to Beeston once - I liked Nottingham.

Couldn't agree more that these sorts of energy sources should have been exploited long ago as well - thanks for the numbers..

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