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 hydropower, 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.
If you have a stream or river flowing through your land you could install a micro-hydropower system to generate enough electricity to power your property.
Benefits and costs
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.
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.