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Rivers: Renewable Energy

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how he applies the Renewable Obligations scheme to river microhydro projects; and whether any changes are planned. (125267)

[holding answer 5 March 2007]: Run of river micro hydro is treated in the same way as all eligible renewables generators whereby they can claim one renewables obligation certificate (ROC) per MW of renewable generation.

There are proposed changes to the renewables obligation (RO), to come into force in April this year, of which three may have an effect on some micro hydro generators. These are;

1. To allow agents to act on behalf of small generators in all aspects of RO participation.

2. To require agents, for the purpose of claiming ROCs, to amalgamate the generation from two or more generators, and

3. Remove the requirement for sale and buy back agreements for generators.

There are further longer-term changes that are being considered with regards to “banding” the RO so that different renewable technologies receive differing levels of ROCs per MW of generation dependent on the technologies need. A public consultation on the level of the technology bands will be issued on this later in the year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the potential for the contribution of river micro hydro technology to community energy supplies. (125268)

[holding answer 5 March 2007]: A study (Potential for Microgeneration: Study and Analysis, 2005) undertaken by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the DTI provides estimates of cumulative capacity of micro-hydro installations under different support scenarios. Under the most favourable scenario micro-hydro schemes of under l00MW could provide approximately 100MW of electrical capacity by 2050.