Hydro specialist Green Highland Renewables is about to start work on two run-of-river hydro schemes in Glen Affric on land managed by Forest Enterprise Scotland
The two projects, comprising a 2MW scheme on the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh and 1.5MW on the Allt Garbh, received full consent from Highland Council three years ago.
Work is due to start today (29 March) and – when completed in spring 2017- the two schemes will produce enough power to supply approximately 2,750 homes.
The two developments are among a number being progressed by energy companies as part of an on-going renewables programme being promoted across land managed by Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES).
Mark Mathieson, Chief Executive of Perth-based Green Highland Renewables, said: “Glen Affric is a site of international importance for its landscape and nature conservation value and we have worked very closely with Forest Enterprise Scotland, the Highland Council and the local community in the design and implementation of these schemes.
“To minimise the scheme’s impact, we have used existing electricity infrastructure put in place for the 1950s hydro developments at Loch Mullardoch and Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin. We’ve also put in place robust access management measures to ensure the public can continue to enjoy uninterrupted use of the glen.
“The Cannich Community has been consulted throughout the development and has been very supportive. In line with the community benefits associated with our developments on the National Forest Estate, the community will receive £5,000 per annum per MW, plus a 5% royalty payment. “
Graeme Prest, Forest Enterprise Scotland’s District Manager in Inverness, Ross & Skye, commented: “Given the environmental and landscape sensitivity, we have worked closely with Green Highland Renewables who are committed to exemplar schemes which absolutely minimise impact while contributing to the renewable energy targets of the country.
“Each installation will operate for a minimum of 40 years, cumulatively helping to secure the longer term energy future for Scotland.”