New RWE hydro power scheme near Fort Williams starts generating electricity

The dam at the RWE Innogy Cia Aig hydroelectric scheme
The dam at the RWE Innogy Cia Aig hydroelectric scheme

RWE Innogy’s new Cia Aig Hydroelectric scheme near Fort William has now started generating electricity – despite the challenging weather and terrain

Consented by the Scottish Government in June 2010, construction of the 2 MW run-of-river scheme got underway in April 2014. Civil contractor I & H Brown is now nearing completion of works on the Cia Aig site, located at the eastern end of Loch Arkaig, about 10 miles north of Fort William. 

Extensive ground works have been undertaken that have enabled the laying and burying of the 3.2km pipeline that runs from the intake weir on the Abhainn Chia-aig River to the power house. Plant contractor Andritz Hydro then completed commissioning of the plant this month.

Mary Drury, Hydro UK Development & Projects Manager, RWE Innogy, said: “It is always energising when we first start generating at a significant project like Cia Aig. This takes RWE Innogy’s operational hydro schemes in Scotland to 15 with a total capacity of up to 30 MW.

“Whilst we continue to focus  on our  existing schemes  in development and planning –  and on our Grudie hydro scheme which has just moved into construction –  we are also  looking for additional opportunities to increase our hydro portfolio.”

London-based institutional investors presently have a big appetite for small-scale Scottish hydro power projects for the stable, long-term income stream which they can generate.

Donald Cameron of Lochiel of Achnacarry Estate, is delighted to see the fifth hydro scheme on the estate now generating.  He said: “The development of small-scale hydro schemes has been an interesting and important part of the diversification taking place on the estate.

“RWE has been an excellent partner, and whilst the increase in traffic movements during the week while construction was underway did not go unnoticed, it was never really that intrusive.

“Both the estate and the local community are impressed with the ease at which our relationship with RWE has developed over the three years and the manner in which any issues raised have been discussed and resolved amicably.”

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