Costs Associated with Hydroelectricity
It is difficult to calculate the precise costs of riverside hydro systems as there are many factors that must be taken into consideration which vary between installations, including:
- civil engineering - materials and labour costs
- system cost based on size, output and quality
- electrical costs - connection to grid and electricity distribution
- planning/project management fees
- running and maintenance costs, based on the type and size of the installation (this may include metering costs for larger systems)
The key variable when calculating installation costs for hydro systems is the amount of construction work that needs to be done, as this is usually the most costly part of the project, costing more than the system itself. At some sites it may be possible to make use of existing structures, while at others the construction will need to be done from scratch, generally speaking.
As noted already, tidal hydro energy generation stations are still relatively untested in the US (and indeed the rest of the world), so there are very few precedents to learn from in terms of cost and potential revenue. As a rough figure, however, tidal hydro can be expected to cost around $5 million per MW. Construction and engineering costs for tidal turbines are also very high, as they require extensive drilling into the seabed.
Finance for Hydroelectricity
Getting the finance for a hydroelectric project can involve getting investors on board or by taking advantage of the series of low cost loans and federal and state grants that are available. Because of the nature of these installations, a lot of regulations need to be met before any loan or grant is awarded and getting this right can add to the costs.