Hydropower benefits from being a tried and tested technology, with modern high-efficiency turbines having been available for many decades.  The turbines are robust and have long lifetimes, generators are efficient, and the powerhouses are fairly basic.  There has however been innovation around some of the major elements;

  • Control panels are now all electronic and can communicate via the mobile phone or satellite networks for remote performance management and alerts 
  • For the penstock (high pressure pipe) HDPE (plastic) pipes are often used
  • Intake weirs can be self-cleaning through the use of washover screens such as a Coanda screen

They do tend to be more expensive to install than wind turbines, but the capacity factor (the percentage of possible energy) is invariably higher, and lifetimes are much longer – often by decades.

While hydropower schemes are in principal straightforward the cost of construction and the issues that can arise around them (particularly environmental factors) can take some effort to establish.  With this in mind we have created a ‘cascade’ of services that takes a landowner or community through the process.  This allows the viability to be established with increasing confidence through the process.  The ‘cascade’ is shown below and the individual services are explained in separate pages: