Create your own hydroelectric power station

The establishment of a hydroelectric power plant has many advantages, such as the generation of renewable and clean energy, as well as the possibility of becoming an electricity producer. In this article, we explain why you should consider creating your own hydropower plant and the key steps to make it happen.

The benefits of creating your own hydroelectric plant

The establishment of a hydroelectric power plant has several advantages. First, you contribute to the energy transition by producing renewable energy, thereby reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact. Then, you can become an independent power producer, which can generate long-term income. In addition, the hydropower plant provides predictable and stable electricity generation, which can contribute to the stability of the local electricity grid.

How to finance your project?

A feed-in tariff guarantees the resale of the energy produced at a fixed price for 20 years, which secures the financing of the banks. Thanks to this advantageous contract, hydroelectric projects are profitable, providing security to banks that can finance up to 80-95% of the project.

We can help you develop your business plan by working with several banks.

Examples of budgets*:

Power kWEquivalent householdsAnnual incomeInvestment (project equipment)
102010 000 €60 000 €
5010050 000 €190 000 €
120240120 000 €420 000€

Assessment of water resources

The first step in creating a hydropower plant is to assess the available hydropower resource. It is essential to measure the average flow of your stream and determine the drop height, which represents the difference in level between upstream and downstream. This information will help you estimate the energy potential of your site and size your hydroelectric plant.

Even if you have a small river (in summer), Turbiwatt is able to create a small hydroelectric plant for you.

How do you know your potential?

Two elements are essential for the installation of a turbine:

  • A drop height ranging from 1.2 m to 8.0 m.
  • A flow rate of 100 L/s to 4000 L/s

The power available on your site is defined by :

P = H x Q x h x 9.81

H: net head Q: flow used h: overall efficiency (between 75% and 85%)

Don’t you have that information? Our team of engineers is at your service to analyse the feasibility of the project. They will travel to carry out preliminary studies and take all necessary steps for the proper operation of the turbine.

Obtaining authorizations and permits

The establishment of a hydroelectric power plant requires specific authorizations and permits. The official act that authorizes the use of the water of a river for the purpose of producing hydroelectric power is a prefectural decree. To obtain this, a file must be sent to the Departmental Directorate of the Territories (DDT). This file usually consists of two parts: recognizing the right to water and bringing it to the attention of the public.

For the recognition of the right to water, there are two cases:

  • – Title-based water right: immutable right for sites prior to 1789 (non-government watercourses) or 1565 (government watercourses).
  • – Title-based water right: pre-1919 charges, which are often temporary and for power below 150 kW.

The recognition of the right to water consists in proving the existence of the mill before 1565, 1789 or 1919 as the case may be and its legal consistency identifying the authorized flow and the gross power of the site. This is determined with a topographical survey of the site (dimensions of the water intake at the time, gross drop height) which may be reinforced by a historical analysis of the mill (number of millstones, archives mentioning an old right, etc.).

Le porter à connaissance allows to obtain the prefectural decree that authorizes the owner to use the hydraulic power. It must consider the impact of the work on the local ecosystem. This may lead to a request for the installation of additional equipment depending on the administrative state of the site.

Turbiwatt is able to assist you with all your administrative procedures. This support usually includes contacting the local authorities, the visit of an expert surveyor, the preparation of Pre-Project Plans (PPP), a regulatory and ecological status report of your site (SDAGE, Natura 2000, PPRI, spawning order, etc.) and the preparation of the file to be made known.

Construction and installation of hydroelectric power station

Once you have obtained the necessary authorizations, you can proceed with the installation of your hydroelectric plant:

  • Implementation of site plans;
  • Find engaging civil engineering companies to work on your project;
  • Draw up specific specifications for civil engineering companies;
  • Execution of works, installation of electromechanical equipment (turbine, electric cabinet, automatism, transformer…) and boasting;
  • Commissioning of the hydroelectric power station.

Turbiwatt can help you through these different steps. In addition, we can also assign one of our engineers to monitor the site for added safety.


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