Hydro Power Is Most Effective Renewable Energy

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"Hydro schemes show best renewable efficiency in study."

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Hydro power

The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) has announced the publication of its online searchable database of the small renewable energy generators subsidized under the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme.

Analysis of that data, and related Ofgem renewables data, show that small hydro is the best performer in the FiTs stable.

The database is based on material released quarterly by Ofgem following a Freedom of Information request by REF in 2010.

REF is also publishing an information note on the performance of the FiT scheme in its first year, the key findings of which are:

  • Growth in small solar photovoltaic (PV) projects accounts for nearly all the increase in installed renewable microgeneration.
  • The geographic location of favored areas for solar PV includes significant concentrations in Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham, suggesting that factors other than resource availability are driving adoption.
  • Historical average annual load factors for all microgenerators suggest that small hydro could deliver more energy than micro PV or wind, with the better hydro sites able to command good returns for investors.
  • The FiTS generators installed at 31 March 2011 would generate approximately 140 gigawatt-hour (GWh) per annum, which is 0.1% of the 119 TWh required to meet the EU 2020 target for 15% of renewable energy.
  • Government expects that the FiT scheme will deliver 6 TWh of renewable electricity in 2020. This would require current output to increase more than 40 times in nine years.

Dr. Lee Moroney, Director of Planning for REF said, "Our data analysis shows that small hydro is producing respectable volumes of renewable electricity and satisfactory returns on investment, yet it has been overlooked in comparison with domestic solar PV. Given the scale of the targets before us, adoption of a broader range of microgeneration would be desirable."

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