We still receive weekly enquiries about the installation of micro hydro schemes.
That’s a good thing, you would think? But somehow it doesn’t feel like that.
Many of these sites are technically feasible but barriers to development exist. The grid isn’t up to it or won’t allow it without prohibitive fees. Unlike other technologies, consenting seems even harder than it used to be, and as a mature technology costs are only going up. As a result of this, and without the ultimate security of FITs these sites can’t be developed.
Support is available through Scottish Government channels, but the application for funds can be disjointed, adding time, sometimes more cost than the benefit of the support, and intermittently requiring projects to adhere to regulations / accreditations that are not relevant.
The focus on net zero, CoP 26, and recent climate events tell us we need to change how we power our world. We know this will be from a blend of technologies and fuels. Recent consultation from Scottish Government looks at renewable heat and asks how we might power that.
Dispersed generation can help, will help.
Micro hydro with its advantages of high load factor, and, in Scotland, generating power when demand is high, should be an option. But it seems to be struggling to stay relevant.
Where do we go from here?
We will keep searching out those schemes that will work and be honest with our customers before commissioning work.
We have diversified our service offering using what we have learnt from our projects over the last 9 years, and over the last 6 months have been “Taking Offgrid – Ongrid”.
Next month we’ll tell you more about that.