Who needs nuclear when we can have hydro?

With news in recent months being focussed on the halt on the UK's anticipated investment in nuclear power, we take a look at Scotland and yesterday's official opening of the RWE ran Cia Aig hydro power plant.

With a 2 megawatt (MW) capacity, the Cia Aig run-of-river scheme started generating electricity in March after nearly two years of construction. It is anticipated that it will produce sufficient green energy to supply an equivalent of about 1,850 properties each year.

Scotland offers optimum conditions for small-scale, distributed hydroelectric schemes, which preserve the ecosystems of small rivers and the landscape and make an important contribution to distributed renewable energy generation. We want to focus on such renewable energy projects in the future and intend to develop and build additional power plants.
— Hans-Christoph Funke, Head of Hydropower, RWE International

RWE International is increasing its hydropower portfolio in Scotland so despite the UK Government’s decision to cut support for renewable energy projects last year including the removal of the Climate Change Levy (CCL) for renewable power and the feed-in tariffs for small scale hydropower, Scotland remain committed:

The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the development of renewables, including hydropower as part of Scotland’s balanced energy portfolio and we are already developing an overarching energy strategy, setting out what we can do to optimise the benefits of Scotland’s significant energy resources and expertise through to 2030
— Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Energy Minister

Because of Scotland, the UK is RWE's second largest portfolio of hydropower schemes yet what are the options for the rest of the country?

In a little over 5 years it is planned that 'green' power from Norway will power over 14% of UK households courtesy of the world's longest sub-sea electricity interconnector.  At more than 730km long, it will transport enough power for 750,000 homes at peak demand. With go ahead for the project given last year by National Grid and Norway's counterpart, Statnett, it is expected to cost £1.4bn but deliver an ROI of up to £3.5bn within 20 years.

Not only will it enable the UK to utilise power at short notice, Norway will also be able to import power from the UK during periods when hydroelectric power is less widely available.

Access to low-carbon energy from Norway hydro-power stations will help us meet the challenge of greener, affordable energy. It also adds to the diversity of energy sources for UK and potentially can reduce peak prices, with benefits for consumers and businesses.”
— Alan Foster, Director of European Business Development, National Grid

Interested in sustainable energy or understanding how reducing your business' carbon footprint can benefit your bottom line?  Call one of the team today on 0207 371 5360 or email us at news@advantageutilities.com