Small-Scale Hydro-Power

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Small-Scale Hydropower

We have a reputation for getting the job done on schedule and on budget. We also have the expertise and experience to repair and replace existing hydro turbine components, from individual parts to complete water-to-wire packages.

Canada V3S 5K1. The best time to build positive outcomes and avoid negative impacts is during development and design, and this is especially true for hydro power projects. These tend to have long lead times, requiring many years of rainfall and river flow data for the design, but are hard to change once built.

Planning a Microhydropower System | Department of Energy

In addition to the social aspects that are typical of energy projects, hydro power projects can impact on the catchment and distribution routes, and may have secondary impacts such as promoting irrigation. Overall, a hydro power scheme adapts the natural variability of a river and its availability to species, and gives this power to people.

This requires careful and ongoing thought as consequences can be far-reaching. Hydro power projects should consider the catchment affected, which requires an understanding of the environment and any patterns of change, sometimes over a wide area.

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Bigger storage and more heavily manipulated water flows usually have bigger impacts while run-of-river schemes can avoid or reduce most of these effects, and are therefore much lower impact. Even small systems however will need concrete and clearing for construction, will divert water, and will need an electricity network as the system itself must be near a river. If a dam is required, changes to stream flow can affect ecosystems, sediment movements and flooding patterns.

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Hydro power may require protection of upstream catchment, which can be positive for the environment. The power is continuous, not intermittent like other sources, and its reliability is particularly useful for productive activities. Hydro power can raise issues of ownership and access rights for both water and land, and should be considered against current and future demands such as agriculture, drinking water supplies, fishing and ecosystem health. These interactions, together with the environmental impacts, can complicate decisions.

Installing multiple systems on a river can add up to catchment level impacts, particularly during droughts or heavy rainfall like cyclones.

New more cost-effective construction techniques used for the small scale hydropower plant Sandvik

Access roads, poles and wires for distribution all contribute to the impacts of hydro power projects. The influence of the project may create secondary impacts, through access and influencing land use. Further information on additional resources can be found on the PDF available for download.

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