Micro hydropower contribution to energy supply can double

Dr Ruprecht of the University of Stuttgart, one of the speakers at the hydro conferenceMicro and mini hydropower generation in Ireland can at least double from its current total contribution to the energy supply of the country to more than 60MW.
Dr Ruprecht of the University of Stuttgart, one of the speakers at the hydro conferenceMicro and mini hydropower generation in Ireland can at least double from its current total contribution to the energy supply of the country to more than 60MW. The considerable unexploited hydropower potential and possibilities for the technological upgrading of existing hydropower plants were highlighted at Monday’s micro hydropower conference in Dublin, which was attended by more than 80 delegates and hosted by the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Ireland).

The Irish Hydropower Association estimates, for example, that up to 600 old mill sites around the country could be developed into hydropower generation sites. While not all of these sites are likely to be redeveloped, a figure of 25 MW installed capacity with an annual production of up to 130GWh per annum is seen as not being unreasonable. In addition, according to the IHPA, at least 10 potential high head sites (sites with a higher water drop) could produce another 500kW each.

The micro hydropower sector has received a further boost by new incentives for micro power generation which were announced by Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan on 26 February. At the conference, Steve Melling from Sustainable Energy Ireland highlighted these measures which include a guaranteed price of 19 cent per kilowatt hour of electricity produced by micro power plants with hydropower being among the eligible technologies. This feed-in tariff for produced surplus electricity will apply to the first 4,000 micro-generation installations countrywide over the next three years. Additionally, five micro hydropower trial plants with an installed capacity of up to 50kW will receive grant assistance for 40 per cent of their cost with applications being accepted by SEI.

About 6 per cent of Ireland’s power generating capacity is in the form of hydropower, which is mainly generated by large scale hydropower stations. Today, the focus is primarily on micro (1 kW to 100 kW capacity) and mini (100 kW to 1 MW) hydropower projects with inherently lower local environmental impact.

The micro hydropower conference was organised by the AHK Ireland within the framework of the Export Initiative Renewable Energies of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. It was followed by a trade mission with eight German specialist hydropower companies holding cooperation meetings with potential Irish partners and customers.

The German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce was established in 1980 with the objective of fostering bi-lateral trade and investment between Ireland and Germany and now has a membership base of over 300 Irish and German companies spread across a broad range of sectors. It is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology

More information on the micro hydropower conference and the involved German companies is available at www.german-irish.ie
Last modified on Monday, 06 April 2009 13:24

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