Micro Hydro Systems
by Gavin D. J. Harper
The renewable energy sector is growing at a remarkable rate, and whilst much attention has so far focussed on solar and wind technologies, the UK and Europe have great potential for generating power from small scale hydroelectric installations.
"Micro hydro" refers to hydro power systems with a power rating of 100kW or less. A 100kW system will produce 100 standard units of electricity in one hour. These systems have been popular in some less-developed countries for a number of years, but now new technology, less stringent regulation of grid-connected generators and standardised turbine designs are encouraging more widespread interest in micro-hydro in the developed world. Benefits include:
* that it is a renewable energy source;
* that environmental impacts of installation are negligible, unlike large hydro;
* that is less variable than other renewable sources, with good correlation with demand (more hydro energy is available in winter when heating loads are high);
* the systems have a longer lifecycle, typically 25 years or more – with low maintenance requirements and running costs; and
* a reasonable payback can be achieved for grid-connected systems, often 10 years or less
This book is an essential addition to Earthscan's "Planning and Installing" series, which provides vital diagrams, pictures and tables detailing the planning and installing of a microhydro installation, followed by information on the maintenance and economics once an installation is running. The book also provides all relevant legal and legislative concerns with installing a small hydro installation, outlines potential sources of support and subsidy, and provides contact details for suppliers and manufacturers. The guide is accessible, but a prior knowledge of basic engineering principles and some degree of maths competency is assumed.
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