§ Mr. Bob Dunn
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether, in view of the increasing world interest in hydroelectric power, he will make a statement on the position in the United kingdom.
§ Mr. John Moore
The United Kingdom has a long history in the use of hydroelectricity—even though our resources are limited. The hydroelectric component of public electricity supply has been fairly stable at around 1100 MW for many years, most of it being concentrated in Scotland. We have, however, seen a decline in the number of small hydroelectric sites which are typically owned and operated by private individuals or companies. In order to assess the potential offered by these sites, the Department of Energy commissioned Salford University to carry out a field study of Wales. The work has recently been completed and I have arranged for a copy of its report to be placed in the Library of the House. The report shows that there are over 560 sites in Wales with a practical capacity greater than 25 kw and that in total these sites offer a capacity of about 70 MW and an annual fuel saving of around 80,000 tonnes of oil equivalent.
The economics of small scale hydroelectric schemes looks sufficiently promising for me to authorise the identification of specific schemes for further investigation.