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Hydroelectricity in the United Kingdom

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The Dinorwig Power Station lower reservoir, a 1,800 MW pumped-storage hydroelectric scheme, in north Wales, and the largest hydroelectric power station in the UK
Hydroelectricity accounted for 4.2% of electricity generation from renewable sources in the United Kingdom (2018)[1]

As of 2018, hydroelectric power stations in the United Kingdom accounted for 1.87 GW of installed electrical generating capacity, being 2.2% of the UK's total generating capacity and 4.2% of UK's renewable energy generating capacity. This includes four conventional hydroelectric power stations and run-of-river schemes for which annual electricity production is approximately 5,000 GWh, being about 1.3% of the UK's total electricity production.[2] There are also four pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations providing a further 2.8 GW of installed electrical generating capacity, and contributing up to 4,075 GWh of peak demand electricity annually.[3][4]

The potential for further practical and viable hydroelectricity power stations in the UK is estimated to be in the region of 146 to 248 MW for England and Wales,[5] and up to 2,593 MW for Scotland.[6]

Interest in hydropower in the UK rose in the early 2010s due to UK and EU targets for reductions in carbon emissions and the promotion of renewable energy power generation through commercial incentives such as the Renewable Obligation Certificate scheme (ROCs) and feed-in tariffs (FITs). Before such schemes, studies to assess the available hydro resources in the UK had discounted many sites for reasons of poor economic or technological viability, but studies in 2008 and 2010 by the British Hydro Association (BHA) identified a larger number of viable sites, due to improvements in the available technology and the economics of ROCs and FITSs.[5][6] However, during the same period there have been significant reductions in costs of other renewable energy sources such as Offshore Wind and Photovoltaics,[7] this has resulted in reduced competitiveness of large scale Hydroelectric schemes in the UK. There are no large scale Hydroelectric scheme planned in the UK as of 2020. However, it is predicted that pumped storage will play an increasingly important role in the UK electricity grid in future years as more intermittent sources of electricity generation come on line.[8]

Schemes up to 50 kW are eligible for FITs, and schemes over 5 MW are eligible for ROCs. Schemes between 50 kW and 5 MW can choose between either. The UK Government's National Renewable Energy Action Plan of July 2010 envisaged between 40 and 50 MW of new hydropower schemes being installed annually up to 2020. The most recent feedback for new hydro schemes is for 2009, and only about 15 MW of new hydropower was installed during that year.[2]

Statistics for UK hydroelectric schemes[edit]

List of UK hydroelectric schemes over 1 megawatt[edit]

Name Operator Location Capacity (kW) Notes
Clachan[9] SSE Renewables Argyll, Scotland 40,000
Cruachan Dam[4] Drax Group Argyll, Scotland 440,000 Pumped-storage
Dinorwig Power Station[4] First Hydro Company Gwynedd, Wales 1,728,000 Pumped-storage
Errochty[10] SSE Renewables Scotland 75,000
Ffestiniog Power Station[4] First Hydro Company Gwynedd, Wales 360,000 Pumped Storage
Glendoe Hydro Scheme[11] SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 100,000 600 m hydraulic head (largest in the UK)
Glenlee Drax Group Scotland 24,000
Glenmoriston[12] SSE Renewables Highland, Scotland 37,000
Inverawe[13] SSE Renewables Argyll, Scotland 25,000
Kendoon Drax Group Scotland 24,000
Lochaber Alcan Primary Metals - Europe Highland, Scotland 84,000
Maentwrog Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Gwynedd, Wales 30,000
Rannoch[10] SSE Renewables Scotland 48,000
Rheidol Statkraft Ceredigion, Wales 56,000 3 dams: Dinas 13.5 MW, Cwm Rheidol 41 MW + 1 MW
Sloy[9] SSE Renewables Argyll, Scotland 160,000 Plans for conversion to pumped storage unveiled in May 2023[14]
Tongland Drax Group Scotland 33,000
Tummel[10] SSE Renewables Scotland 34,000
Aigas[15] SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 20,000
Bonnington Drax Group Scotland 11,000
Carsfad Drax Group Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland 12,000
Cashlie[16] SSE Renewables Perthshire, Scotland 11,000
Cassley[17] SSE Renewables Sutherland, Scotland 10,000
Ceannacroc Power Station[12] SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 20,000
Culligran Unit 2[15] SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 17,100
Dinas Power Station Stratkraft Ceredigion, Wales 13,500
Dolgarrog High-Head Power Station Conwy Road Dolgarrog Power Station, Dolgarrog, Nr Conwy, Wales 18,400
Dolgarrog Low-Head Power Station Conwy Road Dolgarrog Power Station, Dolgarrog, Nr Conwy, Wales 14,980
Earlstoun Scottish Power Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland 14,000
Finlarig[16] SSE Renewables Scotland 16,900
Grudie Bridge[18] SSE Renewables Scotland 18,600
Invergarry[12] SSE Renewables Invergarry, Inverness-shire, Scotland 19,975
Kilmorack[15] SSE Renewables Scotland 20,000
Kinlochleven Hydro Power Station Alcan Primary Metal - Europe Argyll, Scotland 19,500
Livishie[12] SSE Renewables Inverness-Shire, Scotland 17,000
Mossford[18] SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 18,600
Nant[13] SSE Renewables Argyll, Scotland 15,000
Orrin[18] SSE Renewables Ross-shire, Scotland 18,000
Pitlochry[10] SSE Renewables Scotland 15,000
Quoich[12] SSE Renewables Tomdoun, By Loch Garry, Nr Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, Scotland., Scotland 22,000
Shin[17] SSE Renewables Sutherland, Scotland 18,620
St Fillans[16] SSE Renewables Scotland 16,830
Torr Achilty[18] SSE Renewables Ross-shire, Scotland 15,000
Achanalt[18] SSE Renewables Ross-shire, Scotland 3,100
Allt na Lairige[9] SSE Renewables Argyll and Bute, Scotland 6,000
Ardverikie Ardverikie Estates Ltd Inverness-shire, Scotland 1,100
Beeston Weir Novera Energy Nottinghamshire, England 1,676 largest run-of-river scheme in England
Black Rock Npower Renewables Highland, Scotland 3,000
Braevallich Hydro Station Npower Renewables Argyll, Scotland 2,274
Broken Cross Muir Hydro The Scottish Coal Company Ltd Scotland 1,000
Callop Broadland properties Scotland 1,087
Carnoch Npower Renewables Scotland 1,350
Chliostair Power Station SSE Renewables Harris, Hebrides, Scotland 1,320
Chonais SSE Renewables Highland, Scotland 3,500
Cuaich[10] SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 2,500
Cuileig Power Station SSE Renewables Wester Ross, Scotland 3,300
Culligran Comp Set SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 2,000
CWM Rheidol Hydro Dam Stratkraft Ceredigion, Wales 1,000
Dalchonzie[16] SSE Renewables Scotland 4,000
Deanie[15] SSE Renewables Highland, Scotland 3,800
Douglas Water Power Station Npower Renewables Argyll, Scotland 3,000
Drumjohn Power Station Drax Group Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland 2,200
East Aberchalder Npower Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 3,500
Elan Valley Novera Energy Powys, Wales 3,113
Eredine Hydro Project NPower renewables Argyll and Bute, Scotland 2,500
Falls Of Unich Npower Renewables Angus, Scotland 6,000
Fasnakyle[15] SSE Renewables Inverness-Shire, Scotland 7,701
Foyers Falls SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 5,036
Foyers[4] SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 300,000 Pumped-storage
Franklaw Hydro at Franklaw Water Treatment United Utilities PLC Perth & Kinross, Scotland 1,000
Garrogie Power Station Npower Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 2,400
Gaur[10] SSE Renewables Perthshire, Scotland 7,900
Glenn Dubh Hydro Npower Renewables Highland, Scotland 3,000
Inverar Hydro Npower Renewables Perth & Kinross, Scotland 1,100
Inver broom Norgen (Ffestiniog) Ltd Highland, Scotland 3,170
Inverfarigaig GreenPower Inverness-shire, Scotland 4,000
Inverlael Npower Renewables Scotland 1,250
Kerry Falls SSE Renewables Highland, Scotland 1,250
Kielder Power Station Northumbrian Water Ltd England 5,500 largest conventional hydro in England
Kilmelfort[13] SSE Renewables Argyll, Scotland 2,500
Kingairloch Hydro SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 3,500
Lairg[17] SSE Renewables Sutherland, Scotland 3,500
Lednock[16] SSE Renewables Scotland 3,000
Lochay[16] SSE Renewables Scotland 47,000
Little Loch Roag SSE Renewables Scotland 1,000
Llyn Brianne Novera Energy Carmarthenshire, Wales 4,600
Llyn Celyn Novera Energy Wales 4,507
Loch Dubh SSE Renewables Wester Ross, Scotland 1,200
Loch Eilde Mor Hydro Plan (for Alcan) Highland, Scotland 7,000
Loch Ericht Power Station SSE Renewables perthshire, Scotland 2,200
Loch Gair[13] SSE Renewables Argyll, Scotland 6,000
Loch Turret WTW Scottish Water Perth & Kinross, Scotland 1,950
Lochay Compensation Generator SSE Renewables Perthshire, Scotland 2,000
Lochiel Estate Highland Light and Power Ltd Highland, Scotland 1,315
Lubreoch[16] SSE Renewables Scotland 5,000
Lussa[13] SSE Renewables Argyll, Scotland 2,400
Maldie Burn Npower Renewables Highland, Scotland 2,000
Mary Tavy Power Station South West Water Ltd Devon, England 2,600
Mucomir[19] SSE Renewables Highland, Scotland 2,000
Mullardoch Tunnel[15] SSE Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 2,400
Nostie Bridge[20] SSE Renewables Ross-shire, Scotland 1,300
River E Power Station Npower Renewables Inverness-shire, Scotland 3,000
Siadar wavegen / Npower Renewables Scotland 3,000
Sron Mor[9] SSE Renewables Argyll, Scotland 5,000
Stonebyres Power Station Drax Group Lanarkshire, Scotland 6,000
Storr Lochs SSE Renewables Isle of Skye, Scotland 2,400
Striven[13] SSE Renewables Argyll, Scotland 8,000
Trossachs SSE Renewables Stirlingshire, Scotland 2,500
Urlar Hydro Bolfracks Estate Perth & Kinross, Scotland 1,400
Victoria Falls Station CRF Hydropower Argyll, Scotland 1,120
Wimett Station Highland Light & Power Devon, England 1,430

See also[edit]

Related Lists

Related UK pages

Other related


  1. ^ a b c "Department of Energy and Climate Change: Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Department of Energy and Climate Change: UK use of Hydroelectricity". Archived from the original on 27 November 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Department of Energy and Climate Change: Historical electricity data: 1920 to 2012 (xls spreadsheet)". Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e Ramirez, Pedro (2016). The Benefits Of Pumped Storage Systems in the UK (PDF) (Report). Glasgow: Scottish Renewables. p. 15. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 September 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  5. ^ a b "British Hydro association Report 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  6. ^ a b "British Hydro Association Report 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2018: long-term trends". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  8. ^ Hoy, Thomas (2015). "The Role of Additional PumpedHydro Storage in a Low Carbon UK Grid" (PDF). Strathclyde University.
  9. ^ a b c d Payne 1988, p. 100.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Payne 1988, p. 103.
  11. ^ Patel, Sonal (1 September 2009). "Scotland Officially Opens 100-MW Glendoe Hydro Plant". Power. Access Intelligence, LLC. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2023.
  12. ^ a b c d e Payne 1988, p. 151.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Payne 1988, p. 232.
  14. ^ "SSE Unveils Redevelopment Plans for Sloy Hydro-electric Power Station". SSE. Perth. 23 May 2023. Archived from the original on 26 May 2023. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Payne 1988, p. 139.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Payne 1988, p. 165.
  17. ^ a b c Payne 1988, p. 163.
  18. ^ a b c d e Payne 1988, p. 125.
  19. ^ Payne 1988, p. 243.
  20. ^ Payne 1988, frontispiece.


External links[edit]