Advice Notes on Hydro Technology Economics for the NPA Region

Hydro

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/GREBE-Advice-Notes-Hydro.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

Hydro2

Hydropower is of the most reliable and cost-effective methods to generate electricity, as it can immediately respond to variations in electricity demand meeting both base-load and peak-load demand. The key advantage is that hydro power provides a steady and secure source of electricity supply. Furthermore, it very highly efficient (from 70 to 90%), has a long life span and attractive energy pay-back ratio. Other benefits of hydro are that it is a largely predictable resource of renewable energy (the annual generation can be predicted using historical rainfall data/catchment flow data).When considering the payback period for SHP, account should be taken of the lifespan of the system.

A general SHP project cost level is very difficult to predict as they are very project specific contingent on the local surroundings, hydro-technical constructions, turbines and electrical equipment. Small-scale hydropower uses water flowing through a turbine to drive a generator that produces electricity. The amount of a hydropower installation’s potential power output (kW) is directly related to two key variables:

Head – The vertical distance between the water level at the intake point and where the water passes through the turbine. Hydro projects can be categorized into three categories according to the existing head.

  • Low head – up to 10m
  • Medium head – 10m to 50m
  • High head – greater than 50m.

Flow rate – the volume of water flowing through the turbine per second, measured in litres/second (l/s), or cubic metres/second (m3 /s).

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