Ever since man first used a waterwheel to break grain around two thousand years ago, water has been used as a source of clean, efficient and reliable energy.
As early as the 1770s – and well before our Victorian forefathers had hydroelectricity figured out – water was powering spinning wheels in Lancashire cotton mills and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution.
It was the Victorian industrialist and inventor William Armstrong who first managed to generate electricity from falling water in 1878. Within just twenty years of his ground-breaking discovery hydropower had ‘boomed’ and there were hundreds of hydroelectricity plants in operation all over the world.
We’ve come a long way since then. Hydro is now the world’s leading source of renewable energy, producing around 17% of the world’s electricity and 90% of all renewable power. And as you might have guessed, here at Baileys and Partners we’re big fans of this clean, efficient energy source.
Baileys and Partners is proud to be a member of the Hydropower Task and Finish Group, a Welsh Government initiative which represents the interests of the hydropower sector in Wales. We recently made a series of important recommendations to Government, from feed in tariffs to licensing and finance. You can read more about that here.
Hydroelectricity schemes can be an enormous asset to the local rural economy with an impressive average economic impact of £300,000 per MW installed. On average a hydro scheme will generate three times more employment than any other form of energy development, and because of the skills and knowledge required it’s far more likely to employ a local workforce. And there are some inspiring examples across North Wales of innovative community energy schemes which directly benefit local people.
A well-managed hydro scheme should have minimal environmental impact, and we work closely with land owners and environmental agencies to ensure that our clients’ schemes are always exemplars of best practice for the industry – we love this landscape as much as anyone.
Of course, our interest in hydropower is heavily influenced by the geography of where we live and work. Thanks to its reliable rainfall, North Wales has a natural synergy with anything to do with water. It is a viable and valuable industry with a positive future, and we’re seeing significant and sustained interest in the sector both from investors and developers as well as land owners.
If you’d like to discuss any development aspect of this source of clean, efficient and reliable energy, from surveying to purchasing or selling land, Baileys and Partners would be only too happy to help.