Scottish Energy Minister launches new £12m Highlands hydro power project with RWE Innogy chief

RWE Innogy's Cia Aig hydro power scheme
RWE Innogy’s Cia Aig hydro power scheme

RWE Innogy UK’s latest run-of-river hydro scheme in Scotland has been officially ‘launched’ today by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Scottish Energy Minister, and Hans Bünting, Chief Operating Officer Renewables of RWE International.

Board members from the British Hydropower Association, contractors and members of the local community were among invited guests on a tour of the 3-megawatts (MW) Cia Aig hydro scheme, visiting the powerhouse and intake weir and viewing first-hand the process of renewable electricity generation.

The Cia Aig Hydro Scheme is located on the Abhainn Chia-aig river, at the eastern end of Loch Arkaig, approximately 20 miles north of Fort William. The scheme took 24 months to construct at a cost of just under £12 million, and became operational with the first turbine in February this year.

Dr Hans Bunting, commented: Scotland is a great place to do business – we value the skilled supply chain that Scotland can offer when developing our renewables projects.

“It is important to us that we are able to work with local companies and to maximise the economic benefits to the local economy.”

Simon Hamlyn, Chief Executive, British Hydropower Association, said: “We are delighted that another of our member’s schemes is now in full operation and we welcome this opportunity to demonstrate to the Scottish Government the positive impact the development of new hydropower has on Scottish communities.

“There is now more than 177 MW of small-scale hydropower available in Scotland with approximately 1,700 people working in the sector in Scotland.

“Small-scale hydropower energy is a popular, long-term form of low carbon energy with a generation profile which matches demand and supports a significant Scottish supply chain – and increasingly many local communities are taking a stake

 “With the right support from Scottish Government, this industry can continue generating rural jobs and green energy in Scotland for many years to come.”

Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, commented: Congratulations to RWE Innogy UK on the inauguration of their hydro power station Cia Aig. This 3 MW hydro scheme will help contribute to the growing importance of hydro generation in Scotland – the largest source of renewable power in Scotland after onshore wind.

“I welcome RWE Innogy UK’s commitment to provide community benefit funding associated with their renewables schemes including their Cia Aig hydro development.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the development of renewables – including hydropower – as part of Scotland’s balanced energy portfolio, and we are already developing an overarching energy strategy, setting out what we can do to optimise the benefits of Scotland’s significant energy resources and expertise through to 2030.”

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