By DARA BUTTERFIELD
To celebrate £10m in funding from Greater Manchester Pension Fund, Albion Community Power (ACP) has announced details of its latest project, a 499 kW hydro-power scheme located on the River Arkaig in Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands.
The £3.3m scheme, located on the Achnacarry estate, will generate approximately 2.3 GWh of renewable electricity per year. This is equivalent to the electricity consumption of around 550 homes.
This latest investment typifies ACP’s objective of creating a portfolio of small, decentralised renewable generation projects closer to the sources of demand. The River Arkaig project will be directly connected to distribution networks and, by its local nature, will help contribute to a reduction in transmission and distribution losses in addition to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Shaun Kingsbury, Chief Executive, the UK Green Investment Bank, said: “Arkaig is a reminder of the important role community-scale renewables projects will play in securing clean, green and affordable sources of energy for future generations.
“The fact that yet another of the UK’s largest institutional investors has given its backing to ACP is testament to the efficiency and reliability of such schemes and the excellent work ACP is doing to highlight their benefits.”
ACP has agreed to sell 50% per cent of its electricity to directly local users through private wire arrangements, but is engaging with industry to investigate the option of selling more of the generated power straight to end customers.
Strathclyde Pension Fund is a large investor in ACP and has welcomed the plan saying that it wishes to support local communities, infrastructure, innovation.
Councillor Paul Rooney, Chair, Strathclyde Pension Fund, said: “Our first priority is always to ensure our members’ financial futures are secure; but to do that while supporting infrastructure, jobs and innovation in the communities where we live and work is something Strathclyde is proud to be at the forefront of in the UK.
“There is clearly a strong and growing appetite among forward-thinking pension funds to diversify their portfolios into this exciting sector.”
ACP builds, controls and operates community-scale renewable projects across the UK. It is one of the largest single sources of equity funding available for projects in the sector. The Achnacarry project is to be constructed in conjunction with Green Highland Renewables and completion is expected in February 2016.