Just like vacation planning, spring is the perfect time to book your summer hydro repairs and maintenance.


Although we may all be dreaming of post-pandemic getaways, summer is actually the best time to carry out repairs and maintenance on hydro scheme, when flows are usually at their lowest levels (subject to the vagaries of the British weather!), and downtime costs are minimised. Scheduling for that work is now in full swing, so this is the time to get your scheme’s inspection booked in.


What’s the benefit?

Just as your car will run better and last longer if it is regularly serviced, so too will your hydro scheme. A once-a-year visit will ensure that it runs at its optimum efficiency,and identify and rectify any incipient problems before they become serious.


Long-term problems, like deposits and coatings forming in penstock pipes, can build up slowly over time and, if unchecked, can severely impair water flow. Other issues can arise more quickly, such as those caused by developments upstream. Dulas have found intake screens clogged by spoil from the installation of access roads to new windfarms for example, or hydro schemes that depend on leats can be compromised if the leat becomes damaged, either by the effects of the weather, or by livestock or wild animals drinking or crossing the leats. Intakes are often sited in remote upland country that is still be accessible to the public, some of whom can be inclined, for motives ranging from curiosity to devilment, to tamper with equipment. It does sometime happen!


Last but not least are the more subtle issues that can be preventing your hydro scheme delivering as much energy as it could. Sometimes, the issue is so subtle – potentially just a small error in the control methodology used – that the scheme owner does not realise they are missing out on revenue from the extra power that can be generated.

Regular inspections and maintenance will ensure all such problems are addressed and keep your hydro scheme operating to its maximum potential. A thorough check-up for a typical 30-50kW scheme can becompleted in less than a day, so the generation downtime is not significant relative to a scheme’s annual output, and often outweighed by the improvement in performance that an optimised scheme delivers.


As a general rule, we recommend hydro scheme owners set aside 10-15% of generation revenue to cover maintenance and therefore obtain the best possible performance over the greatest possible duration.


An expert service

While there are elements that all hydro schemes share, each also has its own unique aspects. Every one of our maintenance visits is tailored to the specific technical and geographical features of each scheme. Our highly-trained, experienced engineers carry out rigorous fault-finding exercises, designed to minimise plant downtime and ensure your hydro scheme is working at peak efficiency.


If you are the owner of a hydro scheme, large or small, we have the expertise to help you maximise its returns. Book your repairs and maintenance now on 01654 705000 (lines open weekdays 8am – 5pm) or by email to info@dulas.org.uk.