About Micro Hydro Electric Power
Known as the oldest and largest world wide renewable energy source [85%], in recent years the introduction of Feed in Tariff [FiT] has allowed small and difficult sites to be developed.
Whether a small amount of water falls a great height [high head] or a river falls over a low weir [low head], large amounts of power can be generated.
However, environmental impacts and the improvement of watercourses [WDF] have great bearing on the design and cost of an installation. The planning and permitting process can be protracted, with grid connection and possible fish pass / fish safeguarding costs rendering some projects uneconomic.
The overall cost of installation decreases as installed capacity increases. To reconcile this heavier burden on small scale hydro, the FiT payments are more attractive for installations in the micro [<100kW] and pico [<15kW] sizes. Broadly, DECC & Ofgem calculate a 10 + year payback of capital and below 8% return for the remainder of the twenty year FiT payments.
The working life of a turbine, choice of turbine, maintenance and running costs are key factors in the long term return on investment, which could be greater than sixty years if the right choices are made.
In short, a hydroelectric installation is by far the best renewable power generating investment you or your community can make.