The Economic and Social Impact of Small and Community Hydro in Wales

This report examines the economic and social impacts of small scale and community-owned micro-hydro in Wales. It is intended to present a factual picture of the economic benefits of small scale hydro projects in Wales. As such it will be of interest to those working in the fields of rural development and community regeneration.


©Keith Jones National Trust

While the contribution that micro hydropower schemes make to meeting Wales’ overall energy demand is significantly <1% and which will not itself likely lead to regionally significant employment or carbon-mitigation impacts, the amounts of electricity and income generated may be significant for local communities. This project seeks to estimate and contextualize the social and economic benefits of past and potential small hydro developments in Wales.


©Keith Jones National Trust

It is part of a wider project, managed by the Hydropower Stakeholder Group, to develop an appropriate and efficient permitting and management framework for smaller hydro projects. The Stakeholder Group is coordinated by Natural Resources Wales and includes representatives from the hydropower industry, environmental groups, landowners, community groups and local government. It provides a forum to discuss the competing claims on water resources in Wales and deliver appropriate solutions. In this context, this report should be read within the wider set of hydropower guidance, Government policies and hydropower consultations.


The full report can be downloaded below.