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Hydro power

A guide to hydro power

Hydro power is energy created by harnessing the power of flowing and falling water and accounts for around 2% of the UK’s electricity supply. You could generate your own power by harnessing the power of a river or stream near your properly.

Background to hydro power
Next steps on your hydro power journey
Installation, export payments and storage

Background to hydro power

How does hydro power work?

The energy from flowing water is converted into kinetic energy in a turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity. The greater the height and the more water there is flowing through the turbine, the more electricity is generated.

There are many ways of generating hydro power, in different quantities and in different locations. Depending on the amount and method of generation, it can then be used immediately, stored or fed onto the national grid. You can find out more about the different kinds of hydro technology available at British Hydro Association.

Is hydro power suitable for my home or business?

If you have a stream or river flowing through your land you could install a micro-hydro power system to generate enough electricity to power your property.

How much do hydro systems cost?

Costs for installing a hydro system can vary, depending on the location and the amount of electricity you can generate. Maintenance costs also vary but are usually low as hydro systems are very reliable.

What are the benefits of hydro and how much could I save?

Savings will depend on the number of hours the turbine is able to run in a year, which in turn will depend on how often the water levels are high enough to supply the system. Your installer will be able to predict this for you and estimate the amount of electricity that will be generated.

In theory a hydro system can generate 24 hours a day, providing all the electricity you need and more, without releasing any harmful CO2 or other pollutants into the atmosphere.

Next steps on your hydro power journey

Here's where to go for more advice on installing a hydro power system at your home or business.

Installation, export payments and storage


Installing and connecting your generation and storage to the electricity network, including guidance on how to find a recommended supplier.

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Export payments

Surplus energy from your renewable energy system can be exported to the grid to be used by somebody else.

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Storage allow you to use more of the clean energy you have generated, helping you to reduce your energy bills and emissions.

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