Information on small hydro power plant
In the EU emission restrictions following KIOTO have brought the environmental friendliness of small hydropower forward. In Finland small hydropower has been looked down, even though several studies show, that there is a potential for utilization.
Old sawmill and milldams have an unused power potential of 100MW. This potential can be utilized with new technological solutions and under the terms of sustainable development.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry can upon request award investment subventions for renovation objects.
Main parts of a small hydro power plant
Up stream of the power plant is the upper basin; the difference in height to the lower stream determines the head of the power plant.
Modern technology allows construction of small hydropower plants in connection with existing dams. A dam has a by-pass, which has a regulation sluice and an intake pipe or channel with a trash rack. Through the trash rack water is directed to the power plant. The trash rack collects larger litter, which could be harmful to the turbines.
The power plant is controlled trough automation. Operation can be fully remote controlled and unmanned. From the control center of the power plant the energy generated by hydropower is distributed to consumers, i.e. households. In Finland electricity generated by small hydropower is supplied at 50 Hz to the electrical grid.
Investment in small hydropower pays off
After construction a small hydropower plant produces only very few costs.
Automation controls the power plant and its production can be remote controlled. The investment in small hydropower can usually be paid off in less than ten years by the sale of electricity generated by the plant.
More information on power plant design can be obtained from companies in the branch and literature.