SEPA has received a letter from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) notifying SEPA that it is withdrawing its application to vary the Tummel hydropower licence with immediate effect.
The application had been submitted by SSE to modify its licence and amend flows in order to improve the water environment within areas of the Tay and Spey catchments.
The Tummel scheme is one of Scottish and Southern Energy’s oldest and most extensive assets, with nine power stations and a total installed capacity of approximately 245 megawatts. Its catchment area extends over 1,800km2 and utilises water from both the River Tay and River Spey catchments.
This is a disappointing outcome. SEPA was in the final stages of determining the application, following several years of working with SSE and other major companies to attempt to deliver significant environmental improvements, whilst recognising the important benefits which electricity generation from renewable sources provides to Scotland.
SEPA Area Manager, Colin Anderson, said:
“The withdrawal of the application is disappointing as SEPA has been working with SSE and other key stakeholders for some considerable time to deliver significant environmental improvements.
“SEPA was in the final stages of determining the application following several years of working with SSE and other key stakeholders to attempt to deliver significant environmental improvements. We recognise the important benefits which electricity generation from renewable sources provides to Scotland.
“Our plans are in keeping with the limits for loss of generating capacity published in a recent policy statement by the Scottish Government following consultation with the industry. SEPA is directed to use guidance agreed by the UK Technical Advisory Group (UKTAG) to deliver Good Ecological Potential, which was subject to consultation with the hydropower sector.”
SEPA will continue to work towards delivering improvements and meeting environmental objectives in relevant rivers that were part of the SSE application, and will now consider the most suitable way forward.
The determination of the Application made by SSE to vary their Tummel licence has formally stopped and the key stakeholders have been informed. SEPA has advised SSE that we now intend to review the licence conditions with a view to delivering improvements in the relevant rivers that were part of the SSE application.