Climate change in Scotland: Impact on mini-hydro

G. P. Harrison*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Abstract / Description of output

UK Government targets for renewable energy and the new Renewable Obligations suggest a renewed interest in mini-hydropower. However, changes in climate and, in particular precipitation, have been shown to significantly alter the quantity and distribution of river flows. Furthermore, these changes have been shown to impact on the production and, consequently, the economics of large hydropower schemes. The literature highlights that the sensitivity of roduction to changes in climate increases significantly as the amount of storage declines. Given that run-of-river mini-hydropower schemes have little or no storage they may be particularly vulnerable to the changes in river flow quantity and distribution that result from climate change. To assess the threat, a simple software model has been developed that enables an examination of the sensitivity of mini-hydro production and economics to climate change. A possible low-head scheme located in the Scottish Borders is used as a case study. The impact of altered precipitation and temperature on river flows, production and project economics are examined. Consideration is also given to the potential and desirability for making the project more climatically robust.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Specialist publicationSHP News
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006


Dive into the research topics of 'Climate change in Scotland: Impact on mini-hydro'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this