25 Nov 2022

UK Could Add 1GW of Hydropower With Policy Support – Report

25 Nov 2022  by   

Image: International Hydropower Association

A report commissioned by the British Hydropower Association reveals hydropower can provide an additional 1GW of energy in the UK under the right policy framework within a quick timeline.

BHA commissioned the Energy Informatics Group at the University of Birmingham to assess the future potential of hydropower in the UK. The report concludes that hydropower can increase by 50% from its existing installed base of 2GW to provide an additional deployment of 1GW.

A sound representative estimate from the sector survey suggests 217.5MW could be built by 2030 under a favorable policy environment by the 49 survey participants, which if scaled up by extrapolating across the whole UK would be up to 1.4GW. However, extrapolating up to the existing installed base is highly uncertain and the view in this report is to suggest a more conservative value of 1GW of additional capacity for hydropower.

Hydropower is a proven technology, with an established supply chain, and has demonstrated that with the right policies in place can deliver rapid deployment. In particular, hydropower can help to deliver power during the evenings and winter months when electricity demand is at its highest. It is a key addition at these times to balance periods of demand when wind and solar production can be at their lowest and electricity from gas plants can be at their highest – and most expensive.

“This report provides evidence and data that makes it clear hydropower has had long-standing benefits to help decarbonize the UK’s electrical system, and with the right policy support can continue to do so, in fact, it has the opportunity to grow its capacity by 50%,” said lead author Dr. Grant Wilson from University of Birmingham’s School of Chemical Engineering.

The report was released to coincide with the start of the BHA annual conference in Glasgow, at which companies from around the world meet to discuss how to ensure these vital technologies are not overlooked.

“Hydropower is a proven and reliable technology that is able to ramp up quickly and safely. The UK has an established hydropower supply chain, so nearly all of the support needed to unlock this investment will stay in the UK economy, creating jobs and growth,” said Kate Gilmartin chief executive officer of BHA.

BHA calls on all stakeholders to work collaboratively to deliver a new chapter in hydropower’s long and critical history.


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