Generating your own renewable energy is becoming more popular and cost effective.

There are 7 key options: wind turbines, solar water heating and solar electricity, ground source and air source heat pumps, wood fuelled heating and hydro power.

We’re taking a look at hydroelectricity in more detail.

HYDROELECTRICITY SYSTEMS generate electricity from running water – usually a small stream. Small or “micro” hydroelectricity systems can produce enough electricity for lighting and electrical appliances in an average home.
Hydroelectricity systems are also called hydro power systems or just hydro systems.

Hydro power systems use running water to turn a small turbine which generates electricity. The faster the water flows and the more water there is, the more electricity can be generated.

The amount of electricity a system actually generates depends on how efficiently it converts the power of the moving water into electrical power.

Hydropower is not suitable for every home but for those homes that do have access to the appropriate water supply there are a number of benefits;
• Cut your carbon footprint: hydroelectricity is green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants
• Cut your electricity bills: hydroelectricity is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation you’ll reduce or even eliminate your electricity bills
• A lower cost option: installing a hydro system can be expensive, but in many cases it’s less than the cost of getting a connection to the National Grid
• Cheap heating and hot water: a hydro system may generate more electricity than you need for lighting your home and powering your electrical appliances – so you can use the excess to heat your home and your hot water too

Various grants of up to £2500 are also available to encourage home owners to generate their own power.

If generating your own power is something you’d like to explore further then The Energy Saving Trust website (www.energysavingtrust.org.uk) has a simple questionnaire to help you narrow down your options.

You can listen to PASSION for the PLANET radio and hear interviews on demand at PASSION for FRESH IDEAS.

About the Author: Chantal Cooke is passionate about the planet and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET radio.

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