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Works starts on Highlands hydro schemes

Words: Laura Edgar
Construction of three Hydro schemes started in Achnacarry

Hydro plants could power up to 2,000 homes

Green Highland Renewables has started construction on three separate hydro schemes near Achnacarry in the Scottish Highlands.

Located on the north shore of Loch Arkaig, about 15 miles north of Fort William, the mutually supported schemes are linked by 9.5 km of private grid network and are being financed by investment management group Triple Point, a company that has supported Green Highland Renewables projects since 2010.

The projects, 500kW, 750 kW and 1250kW, are together capable of generating power for almost 2,000 homes. They will be constructed by MAM Contracting, a civil engineering contractor that has already worked with Green Highland Renewables. Powered by Austrian Kössler turbines, the schemes are due to be completed in 2015.

Richard Round, chief executive of Green Highland Renewables, said: “Loch Arkaig is quite remote, with challenging topography, and the cost to connect each scheme to the grid individually would have been prohibitive.

“However, by linking them together with a dedicated private grid, which then ties into the local distribution network, we can make all the projects generate an economic return.”

Most of the time since the project began in 2009 has been spent waiting for a connection to the grid, full consent for which was secured in 2013.