Hydro-electric power in Scotland

Hydro-electric power in Scotland

Green Highland Renewables, a Scottish company which specialises in the development of small to medium scale hydro-electric schemes recently announced they are commissioning ten new projects across the Scottish Highlands and Grampian regions over the next few months including a state of the art £13.6 million project at Loch Eilde Mor slated to commence construction in 2017.

The company’s ambitious construction programme has already generated £55 million for the Highland economy with £120 million invested by the company in the region since 2010.

Mark Mathieson, chief executive at Green Highland Renewables, said: “A major tranche of schemes will commission this month in order to meet feed-in tariff deadlines, but we also have a full order book for 2017 with more than £40 million planned investment in the pipeline.

“It is a very exciting place to be, and we are continually innovating in how we deliver schemes.

“Our project at Loch Arkaig boasts one of the biggest Archimedes screw installations in the UK, whilst at Loch Tay we have run a submarine cable across the loch at 150 metres depth – greater than found in most of the North Sea.

“The majority of spend in hydro goes on civil construction, and for us the lion’s share goes to local construction firms and contractors.”

However Mr. Mathieson also issued a warning regarding the future of new hydro-electric projects in the UK.

“All of our projects have secured a feed-in tariff from the UK Government, and the only sad note is that the cuts to hydro tariffs announced last year means there will be near to zero new Highland schemes coming forward for construction from 2018 onwards. We expect 80% of all hydro jobs will be gone by 2020.”

With the news that the UK government has opted to construct the Hinckley C Power plant and therefore promote nuclear energy as their primary non-carbon based energy source the chances for long term renewable energy generation long term growth just got a lot slimmer.

In Scotland we have infinite renewable energy sources and with generations set to reduce by 30% over the next few years it is disappointing that we won’t be utilising them to their full potential.

At ILI Energy we believe in a healthy energy mix containing many different elements of non-carbon based energy however with the cost of re-energising our nuclear industry set to run into several billion pounds the complete dropping of future renewable energy projects seems to lack foresight.

The arrival of industrial energy storage will hopefully give renewable generation the boost it needs in order to once again increase its capacity and be able to offer all consumers clean cost effective energy at all times.


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