The Benefits of a Hydropower Feasibility Study

A hydropower feasibility study is normally undertaken by an organisation in order to determine whether the site in question represents a logical and economically feasible venture. As you may have already imagined, such examinations are generally quite detailed and they are intended to address a number of key metrics. This is the very same reason why Hallidays Hydropower International intends to provide all of our clients with a detailed overview so that the most informed decisions can be made at the appropriate times.

Our hydropower feasibility study offers an end-to-end service, to give you  a solid foundationfor your planned delivery, investment or maintenance of your project. From an initial site survey and analysis of the resources available, through technical modelling and business appraisal, we’re able to provide you with realistic costings, forecasts, risk profiles and recommendations.

Let us take a look at some of the facets which our team of experts will address.

Hydropower Feasibility

The Initial Site Consultation

Analysis of Resources and Location Survey

Our team will first arrive to the site in question to discuss the goals of the owner in question. We then obtain initial on-site assessments including (but not limited to) head and flow measurements, grid connectivity, an appraisal of all relevant infrastructure, and required access to machinery. This data will enable us to subsequently provide a more in-depth hydropower feasibility study within an amenable time frame; saving time as well as money.

Our surveys are based on highly accurate measurement of the site, producing a reliable map which includes water channels, sluices, weirs and water level differences. Nearby buildings, electrical infrastructure and vehicle access will also be recorded. Later, in the modelling phase, we’ll aim to reuse any infrastructure we can, in order to reduce costs.

Flow Modelling

As part of producing the hydropower feasibility study, we use accurate, real-world data and advanced modelling software. These are crucial to ensuring your project uses the most suitable hydro turbine, and can meet its business projections. We calculate the net head (after losses) to get accurate performance forecasts, taking account of factors such as changes in flow rate.

Selecting An Appropriate Hydro Turbine

We are whole-of-market suppliers, and will objectively recommend the turbine most suited to your project, given head and flow data. Our estimates are based on current prices. Along with the turbine, we’ll draw up specifications for the generator, control system and the turbine drive system, whether that’s a gearbox, drive belt or a directly coupled structure.

Mapping The New Structure

At this stage, we provide a sketch map showing how the new structure fits into the location. You’ll be able to discuss where the proposed intake channels and screens are, the siting of the turbine shed and the discharge arrangements. It’s more economical to make design changes at this stage, rather than when detailed plans have been drawn up.

When it comes to connecting to the grid, the most economical way to achieve this, is to connect to the site owner’s distribution board, so that they take the first allocation of electricity being produced.

Assuming that the aforementioned data has been collated, the technicians at Hallidays Hydropower International will research several additional issues including:

  • Site hydrology obtained from existing EA records (such as flow rates).
  • Ecological concerns including environmental variables that need to be assessed.
  • Grid connectivity and local network mapping (for on-site power requirements).
  • Selecting the appropriate size and power of a turbine system.
  • Initial design recommendations and creating a project proposal.
  • Examining the economic impact of the project (such as installation costs, ROI and longitudinal maintenance).

Our primary goal is to provide every client with the insight and clarity required before undertaking such a project.

Detailing The Consent Process

It is just as important to ensure that all relevant Environment Agency regulations are addressed from the onset. The team at Hallidays Hydropower will therefore work in synergy with the EA while following the relevant documentation (forms WR315 and WR325). Subsequently, one of our technicians will coordinate an on-site consultation with an EA representative in order to address any additional concerns.

Part of our site survey, consists of checks for designated, protected or restricted status. The Environment Agency (SEPA in Scotland) will usually need to provide consent, and the local authority may need to provide planning permission. We’ll detail the consents that will be required, in the feasibility study.

Financial Forecasts

The financial feasibility of the project is of course, dependent on the performance of the hydro system. The large data set that we have collected on the characteristics of the site, along with turbine and generator performance metrics are modelled to produce real world performance forecasts.

We’ll provide accurate costings for project implementation costs, based on current real-world data, advanced cost engineering, and experience of similar projects. We forecast income against investment, to produce cash flow estimates and time-phased budget plans that show Return On Investment (ROI) and other financial metrics.

Summaries, Reporting and Subsequent Recommendations

Assuming that all of the steps mentioned above have been completed, the customer will be provided with a detailed overview of the proposal in question. This includes an executive summary, any possible recommendations and the subsequent steps that need to be taken. Of course, we will likewise be more than happy to clarify any issues or questions that may arise from this report.

Project Recommendations And Roadmap

Our feasibility study will provide clear recommendations and options, along with a project roadmap, showing the timeline, major milestones and next steps.

There is no doubt that a hydroelectric installation will provide countless benefits to the end user. It is nonetheless extremely important that the appropriate preparatory steps are taken at an early stage in order to supersede any logistical challenges. If you are curious to learn more about our capabilities, please do not hesitate to contact a representative in order to schedule an initial consultation.

Contact our team at Hallidays Hydropower for any enquiries on +44(0)330 1335 505 or via email to hydro@hallidays.com regarding your feasibility study. Alternatively, fill in your details below and we will get back in touch with you as soon as we can.

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