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Hydropower resources research

This page is no longer updated. The information presented here formed part of our previous areas of research. This has included research carried out on behalf of our research partners, commerical contracts and also the Scottish Goverment's Strategic research programme during the period 2011 - 2016.

Scottish Goverment LogoWe have left these pages here to provide background information on our previous areas of research. Further details on the RESAS strategic programme of research (2016-21) will be made available.

Further details on why we archive pages can be found on the following page.

One of our study sites in the NW Highlands of Scotland
Our research is supporting the sustainable planning, development and management of Scotland's hydropower resource.

Hydropower plays a key role in Scotland’s renewable energy contributions and renewables targets for 2015 (50%) and 2020 (100%). Our research is supporting the sustainable planning, development and management of this resource. We are investigating the implications of continued reliance on hydropower, with a focus on future water scenarios, competing water demands, and tradeoffs with other ecosystem services.

Research questions

  • How will Scotland’s hydropower resource be affected by future water availability (e.g. due to abstraction, climate, or land use). What are the largest uncertainties in these factors?
  • How does hydropower affect the water environment and its ability to deliver other ecosystem services?
  • Can better criteria be defined for the sustainable management of hydropower schemes?

This work is funded by the Scottish Government's RESAS Strategic Research Programme under Theme 2: Strong and resilient sources and supply chains for water and energy. In Work Package 2.2: Improving the sustainability of supply chains for water and renewable energy.

Hydropower research projects

A poster summarising our work is available to download below:

Staff involved in this work:

Susan Cooksley, Stephen Addy, Leah Jackson-Blake, James Sample, Bill Slee, Michael Ferguson


Susan Cooksley


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.