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Small Hydro Power : notes & Investor Guide

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Small Hydro Power - Investor Guide ... Submitted by Hans on Sun, 2006-11-05


This application note introduces the theory and technology behind small hydro power stations (defined as units below 10 MW).


Currently, 17,000 such stations with combined power of 11 GW produce annually 42 TWh of green electricity. The EU's 2010 objectives for this technology are 14 GW and 55 TWh/yr. The guide also covers economic, financial, administrative, social and environmental aspects for small hydro projects.


About the author: Bobrowicz, Władysław


@: http://www.leonardo-energy.org/drupal/renewables


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Blogs: Sustainable Energy : Blog Electricity : Blog Photoblog




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rising prices for small hydro - this is ireland



The price payable if the 1981 price had been fully index-linked is shown by the upper line. The price in 1981 was based on avoided fuel cost plus a bonus for regular winter supply. In 1991, an agreement was reached between the Irish Hydro Power Association and the Department of Energy which based the price on ESB avoided fuel cost, operating cost, avoided transmission losses and a small premium for being green.


In the rapid and successful development of wind power in certain EU countries, political price has been a clear winner over political quota. Central to this has been the recognition that the generator must be allowed to make a profit to compare with alternative investments. The concept of a "Profitability Index" is being used increasingly as a basis for tariff structures. The development and the sustaining of small hydro in Ireland could benefit greatly from this approach.


...more: http://www.feasta.org/documents/wells/cont...ven/miller.html

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  • 3 weeks later...

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Wheels that grind slowly

Caroline Brannigan tells how red tape has mired one man’s dream of producing green electricity


STEPHEN YOUNG has a row of electric heaters hanging from the ceiling of his old watermill. The warmth blasts up into the cobwebbed rafters and out of the mossy roof. He must have the warmest spiders in Yorkshire.


It is a waste in these energy-conscious times and no one is more frustrated about it than Young. Deep below the dusty wooden floorboards, the water that flows below the mill is turning the turbine, and the generated electricity is being stored in a huge bank of batteries. When the batteries are fully charged the heaters blast off the excess energy into space.


There’s enough to power Young’s four-bedroom house across the yard and his parents’ home near by, and loads more besides that he wants to sell back to the National Grid but is not allowed to. Even powering his own home is possible only as a test. The rest of the time he plugs into the mains like the rest of us.


If you want to harness a river you have to get permission from the Environment Agency and negotiations have been going on since 2004 over the case of Tanfield Mill, which lies near the cathedral city of Ripon in North Yorkshire. This quiet spot in a farming area popular with commuters along the A1 has changed little in the 200 years or so there has been a watermill here. It was grinding flour until 1972. The waterwheel went in 1907 to be replaced by an 26ft-long (8m) turbine, which is now restored and filling up those batteries. Two smaller turbines have also been added to operate alone when the water is low in the summer. The millrace, which diverts some of the River Ure’s water to the mill and puts it back again farther down, is just the same.


But the rules are not the same and you must now have permission to do what has always been done. Young is not arguing with that, but cannot understand why it has to take so long. “It’s very satisfying to see energy being created from simple water flow — I have always been fascinated by it,” he explains. “But the politicians are saying one thing and the Environment Agency is struggling to be cohesive because it is such a huge bureaucracy. It’s really sad.”


Most people wouldn’t even know where to begin. Young is an electrical engineer who left his native Sunderland as a young man and made enough money in business in America to call himself retired now at the age of 52. But that just means that he’s diverting his energies into projects that would daunt others.


In 1997 he bought Tanfield Mill and its seven acres for £430,000 and has spent £750,000 on it, including doing up the adjoining house for himself and his wife, Catherine, 52, and converting a nearby barn for his parents. Then he couldn’t resist hauling out the 1907 mill turbine to see if it would go again. After two years back at the original factory in Kendal, it was as good as new. “It was a dream of mine to bring back into use a watermill and I am fortunate I have the resources to do these things,” he says. He has spent £25,000 on professional advice and environmental studies.


The Environment Agency wants to make sure the increasing numbers of young salmon in the Ure are not caught in the turbines on their journey to the sea. A spokesman told Bricks and Mortar: “We support the development of watermills but we do have to assess the effect on the environment. Tanfield Mill has bars 10cm apart, so will not stop the juvenile salmon being killed.” Young paid for a study which he says shows that that is not happening. There is also a mesh screen with holes 4.5cm apart across the millrace, he adds. “If I thought I was killing fish I wouldn’t do it. In two years of study we have found one young salmon, and that was healthy.


“If we had fish parts in the discharge, we would have ghastly smells and the herons on the river, of which we have two, would not need to fish.” What frustrates Young most is the number of people he has had to deal with, the time files seem to stay on desks and the contradictory answers he has had. Some agree with his view that nearly all fish are swept over the weir in the main river and do not get a chance to turn left into the millrace. Screens catch larger fish anyway but he has had different answers on how big the gaps should be. “Successive layers of important people have come to see it,” he adds. “In January, 25 of them came along, including one from London. One said it should be approved, but another later said I couldn’t take that as carte blanche that it would be.” The agency commended Mr Young’s conscientiousness but said that the views of various organisations had to be taken into account.


Despite still being unsure if he has got it right, Young has now made a formal application for a licence to harness the river for electricity and awaits the verdict; but it will be Tanfield Mill’s new owner who benefits, for Young is selling up and hoping to head for France. “There are a lot of watermills in France,” he says, “and they are a lot more supportive of their use over there. Sometimes I wonder if it has all been worth it. But I think I would still do it again.”




Tanfield Mill is for sale for £2 million through Robin Jessop, 01677 425950 or www.robinjessop.co.uk



A 50Kw water mill turbine generates enough electricity to supply the energy needs of ten to 20 houses.


Hydropower is the most efficient of all power sources, according to the Environment Agency.


Water mills still working when water resources laws were introduced in the 1960s were allowed to carry on without a licence. Where the mill has become disused, this right is likely to have lapsed.


More information: www.british-hydro.org and www.ukmills.com


@: http://property.timesonline.co.uk/article/...2464552,00.html

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