Using renewable technologies means you are using power that is provided by natural processes (wind, water, sun, etc…), instead of using fossil fuels, that take millions of years to create and are quickly running out.
What Is Hydroelectricity?
Over 2,000 years ago, farmers discovered that it was possible for them to irrigate their land by using a wheel that was turned by water from nearby streams and rivers. This developed to wheels that were employed in mills to generate power and in the 19th century the first ever water turbines were created. As water turbines are much more efficient and smaller, they are great for generating hydroelectricity – electricity generated by water.
Is Renewable Energy – HydroElectricity for Me?
Renewable Energy HydroElectricity is only available to those who have access to a nearby source of water. It is possible to either complement your existing electricity reply or even replace it all together, so if you do have the opportunity to use hydroelectricity, it is a great way to completely eliminate the potentially unsafe carbon dioxide that is released when electricity is used.
To find out whether your home is suitable to for hydroelectricity generation, ask yourself:
• Is your home close to a water source such as a stream or a river, to which you have or can get access rights?.
• Is the water source close enough to be connected to the national electricity grid?.
• Are there any seasonal variations in the water flow – this will tell you whether you will be able to completely replace your existing power source on only in part. You may need to have a backup power source in place.
What Parts Make Up A Micro Hydro System?
A micro hydro system consists of the following working parts:
• The intake, which is fitted into a weir, where water is gathered and filtered to remove litter and fish.
• The penstock pipe, which brings water from the tank into the turbine itself.
• The powerhouse, which houses the turbine and generator and turns water power into electricity.
• The outflow or tailrace that releases the water back into the stream.
• Underground or overhead cables that carry the generated electricity to where it is needed.
Renewable Energy – HydroElectricity – The Financial Side
The costs that you will incur will vary greatly on your home and the amount of energy you are hoping to produce. Generally, a low head system of no more than 10kW will cost around £4,000($6.5k) per kW installed, but this becomes cheaper if you have a higher than 10kW output. A medium head system generally has a fixed cost of around £10,000($16k) with an additional £2,500($4k) for every kW installed.
The costs of hydroelectricity are quite high, but it could be an idea to speak to others who have access to the same water source and discuss possibilities of sharing the costs. Of course, the financial benefits are that you may no longer require any electricity of the grid, meaning you do not have any costs to pay to electricity companies.
Furthermore, you would be able to sell back any surplus energy, meaning you could earn back the initial investment over time.