Hydroelectric Potential of Northern Ireland

Doran Consulting was appointed by Salford University Civil Engineering Limited, who were commissioned by the Department of Energy to investigate the small-scale hydroelectric potential of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The investigation undertaken included an extensive desk study of all the rivers in Northern Ireland from which approximately 475 potential sites were identified. For each of these 475 potential sites, the catchment area was identified and each site was visited. From these, approximately 80 sites with suitable potential were identified, photographed and surveyed in detail.

For each site a detailed hydrological analysis was conducted which involved producing a flow duration curve either using several years of DANI gauging station records or producing a synthetic flow duration curve from catchment characteristics as described in the Flood Studies Report. Given the flow duration curve and the available head it was possible to estimate the annual energy production.

The cost of developing each scheme was estimated allowing the cost of electricity production per kWh to be estimated and thus the most economic sites identified. This work involved the development of an extensive and detailed knowledge of all the major rivers throughout Northern Ireland and their associated flow regime and catchment characteristics.

A report on the complete study was submitted to and published by The Department of Energy.