Scotland is ideal for the development of small scale hydropower; we have the rainfall and the hills! In the early days of the industrial revolution we built water-powered mills, and then in the 1950’s and 60’s we built massive hydro-electric schemes. There has always been a smattering of small schemes, usually to provide power for remote properties on estates, but with the coming of Feed-in Tariffs, hydropower on many more burns became financially viable.
In 2008 the Scottish Government published a report on the scale of the potential - The Scottish Hydropower Resource Study - available at
The UK Government also recognised the potential and in April 2010 DECC introduced the Feed-in Tariff. Over time the rates have varied and at present they are at their lowest ever. This extends the time period required to achieve a positive cashflow, though the effect may be reduced in the case of very small schemes where the primary motivation is off-setting electricity consumption at a house or business premises.
And there are some additional aspects:
- Every location is different so there are many uncertainties at the beginning
- Relatively high capital costs - but the key issue is payback period
- Few Planning constraints - but sometimes challenges in meeting environmental regulations
- Not all rivers are appropriate
We have answers to these questions - it is what we do. So, if you own a river, or are a community with a supportive landowner, please give hydropower some serious consideration.