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How long do hydropower installations last?

How long do hydropower systems last ? Hydro systems have very long operational lives. The oldest operating hydropower systems are over 100 years old, including some utility-scale systems up in Scotland. Hydro turbines by their nature are relatively low-stressed pieces of machinery and operate under very steady loading conditions with no sudden load changes. This lends itself to a long life provided they are regularly maintained (mainly lubricating the bearings).

The civil engineering infrastructure should last almost indefinitely provided it is maintained. The drive systems (gearboxes or belts) will require periodic oil changes/replacement along with bearings in all of the rotating machinery. Most hydro hardware manufacturers quote design lives of 25 years, though this is normally because they have to set a figure, and in many cases the same manufacturers have many turbines out in the field that are over 50 years old and still operating reliably and efficiently.

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Are you considering a hydropower project ?

Renewables First have considerable experience as a hydro consultant and have a full project capability, from initial feasibility study through to system design and installation.

The first step to develop any hydropower site is to conduct a full feasibility study.

Contact us about a feasibility study today!

Once complete, you will understand the site potential and be guided through the next steps to develop your project. You can read more about hydropower in our Hydro Learning Centre.

Minimise manual cleaning of your intake screen, maximise the financial return of you hydropower system and protect fish and eels, with GoFlo Travelling Screens. Find out more here.