FAQ's - Hydro Power Technology & Equipment
What power can I expect from my river?
As a very rough guide you need to measure the drop over which the water is falling (in meters) and then estimate the volume on a typical day (in cubic meters per second). Multiply these two together, and then multiply by 7 and you will have a very rough estimate of the power in KW that a hydro generator might produce. The total power in kilo-Watt-hours that you might expect in a year is roughly estimated by multiplying the power in KW by 8760 (hours) and then dividing it by 2. If you would like help with this calculation, or would like a more detailed estimate, please call us.
What sort of revenue might I expect?
The Government’s Feed in Tariff supports all the main types of renewable electricity generators.
The Feed in Tariff is paid on all power generated, whether it is consumed on site or exported to the grid.
Electricity sold to the grid is guaranteed a minimum export tariff.
It should be noted that:-
• Feed in Tariffs are index linked
• Income from Feed in Tariffs is tax free for private individuals.
• Electricity prices will rise
• The Feed in Tariff is guaranteed for 20 years from when the plant starts generating.
In order to qualify for financial support under the Feed in Tariff system, hydropower installations need to use accredited machinery installed by accredited installers such as Potential Energy.
What permissions do I need?
The Environment Agency are the licensing agency for hydropower installations. We are happy to help you with all aspects of your application to them. There is more information at the Environment Agency Website
What type of hydro turbine do you supply?
We can supply all types, from waterwheels and Archimedes screws, to high tech precision turbines. What is important is the available power, your budget, and what works best in your particular situation. We achieve this by being independent of the manufacturers.
How would you choose the right scheme for me?
We look at many factors, including:
• What is the available power (see above)?
• Are there migratory fish in the river?
• What structures already exist and what is their condition?
• Will the scheme dry out any stretches of river?
• What is the budget and/or required return on investment?
• Is the river prone to flooding?
• Are you concerned about the visual aspects of the scheme?
As I am sure you have deduced from this list, it is dependant on you and your specific site, so it is best to sit down with us and discuss all of these at an early stage in the project.
What is the life expectancy of a hydro scheme?
A well engineered scheme should be designed to run for more than 30 years. Many existing schemes have run for much longer than that. However the Government's Feed in Tariff will subsidise a scheme for 20 years so the financial feasibility of most schemes is calculated for a 20 year lifespan.
How much administration and maintenance is required by me?
The answer is ‘as much or little as you wish’. We can not only design and install schemes but can make them worry free by remote monitoring of the equipment, carrying out planned maintenance and attending to problems. Potential Energy will deal with accreditation of the scheme to comply with the Feed in Tariff requirements, set up your account and negotiate your electricity sales contract. However, if you wish to do all of this yourself, we quite understand.
I have a river, but I can’t afford the investment. Can you still help?
Yes, if a scheme is of sufficient generating capacity, Potential Energy Projects may suggest a lease agreement, whereby the installation can be carried out using our own finance and the land owner will receive appropriate remuneration over a 20 year period. This way an attractive income can be generated from an asset involving no capital investment.
Can you recommend a resource of good information?
The British Hydropower Association have an excellent guide to hydropower available at: