Small scale hydropower is potentially one of the most cost-effective means of producing clean, green and home grown renewable electricity. Recent advances in technology, reduced equipment costs and the new feed-in tariffs offer incentives for developers to harness the power of our rivers and streams.
In the UK there is an urgent need to de-carbonise energy production to minimise dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy such as hydropower could form a key part of a low carbon energy mix.
The Environment Agency wants to see the swift deployment of sustainable hydropower schemes, but must ensure that schemes do not increase flood risk, damage ecology, damage the fish population or obstruct fish migration.
A new consultation launched today (Friday 19th March, 2010) seeks to uncover the changes necessary to improve the hydropower permitting process, while maintaining the highest possible standards of environmental protection. Anyone with an interest in hydropower development is invited to submit their views at https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/ho/br/hydro/power or in Welsh at https://consult-cy.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/ho/br/hydro/power.
The consultation lasts for 12 weeks, closing on 11 June. The responses and recommendations will be published on the Environment Agency website in November 2010.