Four new Scottish small-hydro power schemes start generating

The Loch an Laoigh hydro power dam, near Strathcarron, Wester Ross
The Loch an Laoigh hydro power dam near Strathcarron.

Four new Scottish hydro power projects totalling 5.5MW have now been commissioned and have started generating.

The Strathan, Loch an Laoigh and Uisge Dubh hydro projects are located on the Attadale Estate near Strathcarron in Wester Ross. The three projects combined are 3.5MW capacity and use a combination of Pelton and Francis turbines and are connected to the grid via a common private wire.

The Pattack project is located on the Ardverikie Estate near Loch Laggan in the central Highlands uses and a Francis turbine in a purpose built powerhouse. The photograph on the right shows the completed dam.

The four projects supported approximately 80 full-time jobs for the duration of the construction period, along with 10 highly skilled engineering and project management jobs, all based in Scotland.

 The projects will employ a number of permanent part-time caretakers, while maintenance and routine servicing will be provided by the Gilkes service centres in Invergordon and Fort William.

Developer Carl Crompton of Cumbria-based Gilkes Energy said: “It’s unusual for four such large projects to come to fruition at the same time.

The Pattack hydro power dam near Loch Laggan
The Pattack hydro power dam near Loch Laggan

“These projects bring the total capital deployed in Gilkes Energy projects to more than £85 million which is clearly a significant milestone. Bringing projects of this size to fruition takes years of effort.

“We need to manage the diverse interests of the statutory bodies, local stakeholders, landowners and investors. Additionally we had to work to very tight timescales due to deadlines imposed by the structure of the Feed In Tariff.

“Hydro project assets last for a very long time, typically longer than 60 years, so have to be engineered with that timeframe in mind.

“Each project we deliver makes a small step towards our national renewable energy targets, and because the assets last for such a long time, our projects keep contributing to the fight against climate change year on year, long after the diggers have left site.”

20 Nov 2017

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