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How much hydropower income would my system provide?

The Dáil has produced a White Paper – Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future. This confirms that there will be Feed in Tariff (called REFIT in Ireland) introduced for Renewable Energy electricity generation within the Republic of Ireland by the end of 2016. It should be noted that it takes time to develop projects so it is worth assessing site potential now in order to progress the project to benefit from the incoming Feed in Tariff rates when they become available. It is not know how long the scheme will be available for.

The previous Irish REFIT rates have been used below for indicative purposes until the published rates for the new scheme are known. The Feed in Tariff for hydro (FiT) is the major component of the total value of the renewable energy generated.

Hydropower income is slightly complicated… There are likely to be two components that make up the total value of generated hydro electricity, namely:

  • Feed-in Tariff
  • Offset value for energy used on-site

Each of these components is described in more detail here along with information on how they can affect the overall value of the energy generated. The previous REFIT2 scheme pays €88.068 per MWh in 2016 and is index linked. This value is applicable to all systems with installed capacity up to 5 MW. This value has been used for indicative purposes until the new REFIT scheme’s rates are released.

For a range of different sizes of micro hydro and small hydro system the annual revenue for a 15 year period is shown below. These are all based on a typical Irish capacity factor of 0.5. Also note that the revenue is indexed linked.

Maximum Power Output Annual Energy Production (AEP) Annual Revenue
5 kW 22 MWh €1,937
25 kW 110 MWh €9,787
50 kW 219 MWh €19,287
100 kW 438 MWh €38,574
250 kW 1,095 MWh €96,434
500 kW 2,190 MWh €192,869

Also note that the total value of electricity could be around €0.06/kWh more if you can consume the generated energy on-site. This is because rather than exporting it for €0.088/kWh you can use it on site which means offsetting imported electricity which typically costs around €0.15/kWh.

Also worthy of mention, many hydropower sites generate a great deal of positive publicity and ‘green credibility’ through association with clean renewable energy generation. Sometimes the value of this is greater than the revenue generated by the system, but because of its non-tangible nature it has been ignored here.

To see how this translates into a return on investment you need to consider what the project will cost and what hydropower systems cost to operate, then the return on investment can be calculated.

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Are you considering a hydropower project in Ireland?

Renewables First have considerable experience as a hydro consultant and have a full project capability, from initial feasibility study through to system design and installation.

The first step to develop any small or micro hydropower site is to conduct a full feasibility study.

Contact us about a feasibility study today!

Once complete, you will understand the site potential and be guided through the next steps to develop your project. You can read more about hydropower in our Hydro Learning Centre.

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