Building work on the Arrochar Community Hydro Scheme is due to start this month, and the project is scheduled to be generating electricity by March 2018.
A community share issue, giving people living locally and across the UK the option to buy a stake in the project, was launched in June – and the £660,000 needed to build the scheme was raised in just two weeks.
The 123kw Arrochar Community Hydro Scheme is located above the village of Arrochar, and will generate electricity and income for Arrochar & Tarbet and Luss & Arden community development trusts.
The project, which received planning permission two years ago could generate up to £50,000 a year from selling power on to the national grid – and around £750,000 in “community benefit” over the 40 years of the scheme.
Electricity generated will also be sold to the National Grid, with income going to the communities’ development trusts for ongoing projects and future community benefit. A proportion will also be returned to members as share interest.
The scheme was initially proposed by Luss Estates, a group of local businesses committed to sustainable land management, supporting local communities and growing the regional economy.
As well as Luss Estates, the development trusts are working with community energy advisors Energy4All and Local Energy Scotland to develop the project.
The building work at the An t-Sreang water course will be led by Highland Eco Design.
Simon Miller, Chief Executive, Luss Estates, said: “We are delighted to have initiated this scheme and to be able to support the development trusts in this project which will generate income for the local communities in an environmentally friendly scheme.
“We have worked closely with both development trusts to bring the project to this stage and will continue to support them moving forward. Luss Estates is committed to supporting the local economy, communities and protecting our stunning natural environment and this project is an excellent example of this commitment.”
Duncan MacLachlan, Director of Arrochar & Tarbet Development Trust, has worked with other community members to bring a hydro project to the area for a number of years. He said:
“It’s great to see the hydro scheme is finally going ahead. The Arrochar Hydro concept results from two communities working in partnership – Arrochar & Tarbet and Luss & Arden Development Trusts.”