Prince Charles opens re-built historic hydro power plant in Braemar

Prince Charles with Braemar community representatives
Prince Charles with Braemar community representatives

Prince Charles, Duke of Rothsay, has visited Braemar to bring a Victorian hydro-electric power plant back to life.

The scheme on the Corriemulzie burn was once used to generate power for nearby Mar Lodge, which once belonged to Princess Louise, one of Queen Victoria’s grand-daughters

The development, which has been funded by around 200 investors from the town, will use water from the river to generate low-carbon electricity for the national grid and any profits made will be reinvested in the area. For the last six years, residents of the Aberdeenshire town have been working on having it rebuilt.

The scheme is expected to generate between £5,000 and £10,000 every year for local community projects in Braemar.

Prince Charles visited the plant to meet the people who have made the development possible.

Project manager Michael Bestwick and Alistair Hubbard, director of Braemar Community Hydro, welcomed the prince to the site before he then pressed a button, allowing water to flow into the turbine to signal that the initiative was well and truly complete.

James Buchan, a development officer at Local Energy Scotland, identified the potential of the project from an early stage.

He said: “I work at the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme. We give funds at the early stage of a development and help it get planning permission.

“The plant will generate 100kw and generate an income scheme for the area. It will provide a huge amount of local benefit.

“We’re moving towards a system of decentralisation of energy in Scotland where more is generated locally.”

The Merk community hydro plant
The Merk community hydro plant

Meanwhile, the new 1MW Merk hydro scheme on a tributary of the River Fyne near Cairndow, Argyllshire, has been officially opened by MSP John Swinney, Finance Minister in the Scottish Government.

 

 

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