Welsh resources agency announces new environmental management standards

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Natural Resources Wales will release a new approach to the way it assesses water availability for hydroelectric power production, the government sponsored management body announced this past week.

The organization’s board said the new assessment “will offer a clearer, more straightforward way of assessing the water available for sustainable hydropower consistently across Wales” while also providing additional guidance “to help hydropower developers to develop sustainable schemes”.

“We have listened to what stakeholders said and have used the best scientific evidence to develop an approach suited to the natural environment that we have in Wales,” NRW representative Ceri Davies said.

Natural Resources Wales is also looking at more ways to support the hydropower industry, as well as community groups and landowners that could benefit from it.

According to NRW, the new guidance will “outline a clear process for developers and provide a clearer indication of the volumes of water the volumes of water they are likely to be able to take for renewable energy generation, aided by a map based screening tool, which will be improved over time as knowledge increases”.

Said Davies, “What this decision means is that we are enabling the energy from our natural water resources to be used, whilst protecting our water environment and other water users. This, alongside the other work we are doing to help developers, will support the development of sustainable small-scale, renewable energy generation in Wales.”

NRW said it expects to publish the new standards and guidance on flow availability later this fall.

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