British Hydropower Association (BHA) said that micro-hydropower projects, around the 2,200 miles of rivers and canals, will generate 210,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity. An investment of GBP120 million in private capital over the next three years will pay for the construction by the Small Hydro Company for 25 hydro electricity schemes. Electricity produced will be enough to power 40,000 homes, and 110,000 tonnes of carbon foot prints will be reduced in a year.

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: By committing to build small hydro power stations and wind turbines, British Waterways is playing an important role in generating renewable energy from the UK?s natural resources. This will help cut carbon emissions and further secure energy supplies.

The scheme will also include some adaptation to the effects of climate change by improving flood defenses for local communities.

British Waterways has already announced plans to install wind turbines on canal land. Opening up of unused canal land for allotments is also being considered. It will be used by the schools and community groups to grow food.