Small-scale hydro energy

Water flowing over a weir

This land is not suitable for large hydroelectricity generation projects, but small-scale schemes of between 10 kilowatts (kW) to 1 megawatt (MW) can be integrated into working forests if care is taken to manage the impact on the environment and other forestry activities, such as our access and recreation infrastructure.

Plans for the future

Since 2014 we have worked with Developers and community groups to enable 15 small scale hydro schemes across Wales, which are now operational and capable of producing approximately 1300kW annually of renewable energy. In addition work on NRWs 17kW Garwnant small scale hydro scheme was completed in September 2017 and the scheme is now fully operational.

NRW are currently working on 12 new applications to enable Developer led schemes on the NRW Managed Estate.

If you have any questions about our programme or projects please e-mail:

Hydropower scheme licences

Natural Resources Wales is responsible for issuing Water Abstraction Licences, which are required to allow the abstraction of water for any hydropower scheme in Wales.

Find out how to apply for a licence on the Hydropower Schemes page.

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