Micro hydro and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) have had a rocky start. The MCS is designed to protect domestic consumers and covers small scale installations. Access to government incentives such as the feed-in tariff and the renewable heat incentive (RHI) are subject to both the installer and the product being MCS certified.
However, when the feed-in tariff was introduced in April 2010 there were no agreed standards for micro hydro products to be accredited against. Progress has been made since then, but only very slowly, and with some controversy.
In April 2011 a transitional arrangement was agreed, which allows micro-hydro stations (ie ones of 50kW or less) first commissioned between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2012 to be accredited for the feed-in tariff under the ROO-FIT system (ROO stands for Renewable Obligation Order. The ROO-FIT process is generally for installations over 50kW).
DECC announced in its recent Microgeneration Strategy that it is: “proposing to withdraw the exclusive link between micro-hydro and the MCS for the purpose of the feed-in tariff eligibility. We will consider how this can be taken forward as part of comprehensive review of the feed-in tariff.” This is due to the ‘special and complex nature of micro-hydro development’.
There are currently 10 micro-hydro products on the MCS transition list of acceptable products.
Photo by Steve Snodgrass