FAQs – Hydro Power

Frequently Asked Questions about Hydro Power

1. What consultancy services does Dulas Hydro offer?

The Dulas Hydro department works extensively in all aspects of small to medium hydropower development and has developed a strong reputation for refurbishment and re-commissioning of existing sites. Its consultancy services are therefore based on experience as well as theory. Its consultancy services include:

  • Site finding
  • Resource assessments
  • Detailed feasibility analysis
  • Environmental assessment
  • Abstraction licencing
  • Planning permission
  • Grid connection
  • Landowner agreements
  • Technology transfer and training
  • Due diligence 

2. What is the power potential of my stream?

The power output of a stream is dependent on the head and the flow:

Head is the vertical distance between the water levels at the intake and the turbine.

Head is the vertical distance between the water levels at the intake and the turbine.

The flow rate will vary depending on type of catchment and rainfall patterns. For small sites it is usual to scale statistical flow data collected over many years from similar catchments.

Note that a hydro system will not be allowed to take all the river flow – in England and Wales this will be regulated by the Environment Agency by the issue of an Abstraction Licence, and somewhere between a 25% and 75% take is usual. 

3. Is my stream big enough for a hydro installation?

All streams theoretically have the potential to produce hydroelectric power. Smaller streams will mostly have the potential to produce a few kW and sometimes 10kW or more. However, the installation cost for this size of scheme has historically been very high compared to the income that can be generated by selling the power produced by such schemes. Such sites are usually only viable on a DIY basis, or through community funding. 

For larger streams, Dulas can offer consultancy and installation services. However, it does not usually work on domestic or “pico” hydro schemes (less than 10kW).

4. I have a watermill with a weir. Should I consider a hydro installation?

All old mill sites and weirs theoretically have the potential to produce hydroelectric power. Smaller mills will mostly have the potential to produce a few kW and sometimes 10kW or more. However, the installation cost for this size of scheme has historically been very high compared to the income that can be generated by selling the power produced by such schemes. Such sites are usually only viable on a DIY basis, or through community funding.

For larger mill sites, Dulas can offer consultancy and installation services. However, it does not usually work on domestic or “pico” ydro schemes (less than 10kW).

 

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