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New FiT Band Benefits Small Hydro Development in U.K.

Small hydropower project developers are hopeful that the 100-500 kW hydro band introduced earlier this month to the United Kingdom's Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme will help stimulate renewable production growth.

Effective March 15, 2013, the hydro band will allow projects with installed capacities between 100-500 kW to receive between 12.48 pence per kilowatt hour (p/kWh) and 15.98 p/kWh, depending on whether the project was approved before or after the tariff's enactment date.

"We want to give investors and project developers across low-carbon technologies as much certainty as we can, as early as we can," said Edward Davey, U.K. Energy and Climate Change Secretary. "That's why we are launching a process that will enable investment decisions to be taken before changes to the electricity market come into effect, ensuring that renewable electricity projects can get built, bring investment and jobs."

HydroWorld.com reported in June 2012 that questions regarding the FiT program were potentially holding back millions of dollars in small-scale hydropower investments, which the British Hydropower Association (BHA) said could equate to as much as US$156 million.

Introduced in April 2010, FiT was implemented as part of the U.K.'s effort to increase its percentage of energy produced by renewable sources to 15% by 2020.

According to BHA, that equates to an increase of more than 6,360 GWh of new green energy with small hydropower project accounting for the bulk of the added capacity.

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