19/10/2010

Water To Power NI's Entrepreneurs

Hydropower can offer Northern Ireland firms and individuals an opportunity to gain both financially and environmentally, a panel of experts will tell entrepreneurs at a major event in Omagh today.

Taking place at the South West College, the 'Hydro-System Setup' seminar will provide practical advice to help organisations and individuals harness the power of water, through hydro technology to reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions.

The event, organised by the InnoTech Centre and funded by the Department for Employment and Learning, will identify each step involved with installing and operating energy from water (hydro) systems and outline essential planning and environmental considerations.

Speakers at the special seminar include Trevor McBurney from locally-owned HydroNI and Kieron Hanson from hydropower consultancy Hydroplan Ltd. Peter Close from NIEA will also outline the environmental considerations for the technology and Alison McCullagh will share insights into Omagh District Council's development of a hydro turbine system on the Camowen River.
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Neil Freeburn, a researcher at the InnoTech Centre, said hydropower has historically been an important source of renewable energy in Northern Ireland and continues to present new opportunities.

"For many years energy has been generated from water for industrial use - initially with water wheels powering mechanical devices and more recently modern turbines generating electricity.

"The technology is continuing to evolve and offers new opportunities for progressive businesses and entrepreneurs. This event is about providing attendees with the essential and practical know-how needed to translate potential into action," he said.

Trevor McBurney, from Tyrone-based HydroNI, said the dependability of the technology meant users could easily forecast returns: "Micro hydro-systems are becoming increasingly popular with customers who see the technology as a long term investment and the rewards can be considerable.

"Compared to other renewable technologies, hydropower offers the most consistent and reliable source of good, clean energy.

"Modern hydropower systems are generally low maintenance and long-lasting. It is easy for potential owners to accurately predict long-term payback and gain better returns," he said.

(BMcC/GK)

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