Hydropower in the UK
Some useful facts
- Hydropower is a flexible technology, improved and refined over many years.
- Its site specific features make it highly innovatory in application which makes use of a wide range of resource available, large or small hydro, pumped storage or run-of river, tidal range, canals or even water treatment works.
- The first water turbines were built in the mid 1800’s and they have been developing ever since.
- Turbine efficiencies are rarely below 80% which is about double that of a steam turbine.
- There is currently an installed capacity of 1676 MW generating over 5000 GW/year.
- There is in addition, a further 2860 MW capacity of existing pumped storage.
- The cost per kW of clean energy is the lowest of all renewable technologies over the full lifetime of the scheme.
- There are 7,400 [BIS 2015] people directly employed in the UK hydropower industry.
- Hydropower currently produces around 20% of the world’s electricity and 90% of the world’s renewable power.
- Recent resource studies have indicated that there is a practical potential for a further 2GW of capacity in the UK.
- At present 30% to 40% of the UK’s renewable generation is provided by hydropower, whilst globally, 17% of energy is supplied – and will continue to be supplied – from hydropower sources.
- Hydropower offers long term generation beyond the subsidy period and hydropower schemes have an 80-year life compared to 25 years for wind, solar PV and AD; 35 years for nuclear.
- On average 70% of the cost of a new UK hydropower scheme is in civil construction which is procured locally. The majority of new small schemes are in remote rural areas, providing valuable energy and income in a way which is environmentally sensitive, and has strong community support and involvement.
- Hydropower is an important and valuable contributor to the UK renewables mix and to achieving the UK’s low carbon targets.
- Hydropower offers a unique and attractive combination of low lifetime cost and a local/UK based supply chain.