Project Title
Priority 2 Eco-innovation: Stimulating the green economy
Lead Beneficiary
Canal & River Trust
Contact Person First Name
Contact Person Last Name
First Floor North, Station House, 500 Elder Gate
P.O. Box
Postal Code
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom
0044 1908 351852
Central Aim

The aim is to stimulate increased use of small hydro equipment to power operational buildings, assets and facilities etc.

Hydro-power technology exists but is not readily available (or cost-effective to incorporate) for many organisations. 

We want to trial smaller scale equipment, develop the technology, discover best practice, look for cost efficiencies, and find out what is preventing wider take up of this technology.

Project Description

The pilot phase trials a range of technologies

  • To see which model(s) offer the best solutions
  • To test In different conditions (e.g. urban, rural, rivers, lakes, canals etc)
  • Testing a combination of two or three of these technologies at one site 

We then want to validate and agrees which technologies and solutions partners recommend as a ‘standard solution’ that other organisations should adopt. We want to prove that the technologies work and help deliver the results we aim to achieve. 

We want to show that organisations can take a leap of faith and install such technologies. If the project is successful it will not only prove that the solutions we’ve tested generate sufficient levels of electricity and are cost effective to run - but enable organisations to demonstrate a commitment to ‘greening’ in the region

Purchase and installation of equipment allows partners to test functionality and assess the levels of power generated/CO2 reduced, and costs saved. As part of this process the planning issues are ‘encountered’ and partners overcome the technical and logistical issues that need to be addressed before the final ‘switch-on’. 

Different small hydro models need to be tested under varying conditions. Other emerging technologies exist and we will trial one or more of these to test their suitability and capabilities. We can then form opinions about which equipment is best suited to which physical, political, commercial, or environmental conditions. Once a suitable standard designs are agreed we would look at how best these could be implemented.

The work undertaken in the pilots will allow partners to find out for themselves what it is that’s preventing wider take-up. So a key lesson will be “How do we stimulate this market to achieve a critical mass that will give companies the stimulus to mass produce such equipment?”

We also want the pilots to help us learn how easy or not it is to satisfy the regulators. If it’s found to be very difficult the pilots will evolve so that the task also looks at what steps organisations need to take to ensure they comply with the rules. 

Follow on work is to deliver a press campaign to promote the small hydro benefits and to stress the need for change in situations that are thought to be placing unnecessary barriers in the way of implementation. 

Envisaged Output

2 small hydro equipment models - tested in pilot situations and modified by manufactures as a result of lessons learned through these trials.
3 new business processes tested and promoted across the NSR to organisations wishing to adopt small hydro solutions 

Testing equipment in pilots will save organisations costs of carrying out feasibility studies and they can be confident about what they'll be installing and understand the best conditions in which they should employ it.

By testing what happens we expect to find out the simplest route there is for organisations to go from the “agreement it’s a good/cost effective thing to do” stage - through to actual installation and operation of the equipment. The willingness or desire to make the move can be hindered by a lack of motivation because of a poor understanding of what’s involved. By trialling this ‘route’ we will encounter the problems and find solutions to these for them. 

What is the need for this project?

There is a clear aim to reduce carbon emissions across NSR and Europe. NSR in particular has an abundance of land and water to facilitate renewable energy generation and the area’s geographical and physical characteristics means it is ripe for exploitation of its natural resources. There are however a number of barriers that exist to making better use of them. The SHS project would help address these barriers.

Hydro-power technology exists but research shows the small hydro market is not well established enough to provide readily available and cost-effective solutions for many organisations. We need to address this market failure by developing more affordable equipment and easier ways for organisations to steer through the processes involved in implementing it.

There is a clear need to stimulate increased use of small hydro equipment and the activities proposed here would help do that. The pilots we want to carry out should prove that the technologies work and do indeed help deliver the results we aim to achieve. If they don't we have the opportunity to make and suggest changes to the technology and processes to change this. 

Cost implications are a key factor affecting wider use of such technologies, but if we can demonstrate lower cost schemes that are easy enough to install and operate - savings should be seen in the long term. This could be particularly appropriate to remote areas (e.g. locks and bridges along the Telemark Canal could be powered by local hydro equipment, a visitor centre beside a river could generate and supply its own electricity, etc). If this works it could save costs of connections to, or taking supply from, local electricity grids. 

One of the benefits of the project is to deliver a degree of self-sustainability. The benefits are for all regions across Europe and within the project - but in some ways the more remote an area the more important and beneficial the ability to generate power cost effectively becomes. Hence the relevance to The North Sea area is felt to be relatively high.

Whilst we envisage that the focus will be on hydro-power the pilots may reveal that it’s appropriate to trial a combination of wind/solar/hydro solutions in certain circumstances.

Thematic Keywords
Carbon reduction
Energy efficiency
Promoting green economic activity
Reduce carbon emissions
Renewable energy
Smart grid technologies
Sustainable resource use
Take up of new technologies
Other Keywords
Hydro Power, Wind Power, Solar power, Cost savings
Partners Found Already

None confirmed as yet.

Partners Searched

Public Authorities with capacity to develop and trial such technologies

NGO's or other organisations responsible for managing waterways / water flows / open spaces

Research bodies involved in development of Hydro Power solutions.

SME's involved in development of Hydro Power solutions.

Estimated Budget

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