Tuesday, December 18, 2012

UK needs sustainable hydro development

UK has very good hydropower potential. According to a 2010 report Environment Agency there are 26,000 energy hot spots where hydro power plants could be installed to generate electricity.

The government is also doing good work in promoting hydropower in form of subsidy schemes for renewable energy developers that can claim grant aid towards the cost of new hydro-electric power plants, while hydro electricity also qualifies for premium subsidized rates.

The government subsidies have certainly played their part in creating a rush to hydro as developers and consultants are trying to make the most of it while it lasts.  The latest report says that 225 schemes have been approved in England and Wales in the last four years, but so far there has been a very small electricity generation coming from these projects.

UK has plenty hydropower resources at its disposal.

There has also been protests coming from environmentalists and calls for Environment Agency guidelines (under which new schemes were approved) to be rewritten as soon as possible in order to prevent environmental damage.

Several reports claimed that there has been a significant decline in salmon migrating upstream because of the turbulence of water discharged from the generating screw. However, there is still no proof that the hydro plants are causing the decline in the numbers of salmon and sea trout.

The general conclusion is that all hydropower schemes need to be developed sustainably, in order to avoid environmental and economic damage in nearby area. Each hydropower scheme should be thoroughly examined with any possible environmental risk being fully considered.