UK Environment Agency Report Identifies Untapped Hydropower Potential

Thousands of small-scale hydroelectric projects could power 850,000 homes and produce 1.5 percent of the UK’s electricity needs, according to a recent UK Environment Agency study.

The UK government agency concerned with rivers, flooding, and pollution mapped the hydro energy hotspots of English and Welsh rivers and identified almost 26,000 locations where hydropower turbines could be installed to generate electricity from the water.

Not all those sites could be developed, as some could damage the environment or are in places with practical constraints, such as difficulty accessing the local electricity grid.

Sensitively-designed hydro schemes – including fish passes, enabling species such as salmon to navigate around the turbine or other technology – could provide a “win-win” situation for the environment in more than 4,000 areas, the EA reported.

The rivers Severn, Thames, Aire and Neath are strong contenders for a hydroelectric scheme, according to the study.

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