Green Highland Renewables is about to start work on two run-of-river hydro schemes in Glen Affric on land managed by Forest Enterprise Scotland, SSE and part of Wester Guisachan Estate.
The two projects, comprising a 2MW scheme on the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh and 1.5MW on the Allt Garbh, received full consent from The Highland Council in 2013 and work is due to begin next week [March 29].
The projects are scheduled to finish in spring 2017 and together the two schemes will produce enough power to supply approximately 2,750 homes. The two developments are among a number being progressed by energy companies as part of an on-going renewables programme being promoted across land managed by Forest Enterprise Scotland.
Commenting on the project, Green Highland Renewables Chief Executive Officer Mark Mathieson said:
“Glen Affric is a site of international importance for its landscape and nature conservation value and we have worked very closely with Forest Enterprise Scotland, the Highland Council and the local community in the design and implementation of these schemes.
“Naturally the construction of any hydro project will require a fair amount of civil engineering work. However, to minimise the scheme’s impact, we have used existing electricity infrastructure put in place for the 1950s hydro developments at Loch Mullardoch and Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin. We’ve also put in place robust access management measures to ensure the public can continue to enjoy uninterrupted use of the glen.
“Throughout the construction phase we will keep all car parks clear, and there will be no path closures. As part of the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh project we will provide a new path at Chisholm Bridge, tying into a new FES car park, which will provide a new low level circular walk,” Mathieson says.
“The Cannich Community has been consulted throughout the development and has been very supportive. In line with the community benefits associated with our developments on the National Forest Estate, the community will receive £5,000 per annum per MW, plus a five per cent royalty payment.
“To help keep the public abreast of how the project is progressing we have posted information notes at Dog Falls car park, Allt na h-Imrich car park, River Affric car park and at the foot of each scheme. In addition, we will be providing monthly updates to the local and wider community and up-to-date information via the Forest Enterprise Scotland web site and a dedicated Twitter feed.
“Once the site is complete and fully remediated, there will be very little visual impact,” Mathieson concludes.
Commenting on the development, Graeme Prest, Forest Enterprise Scotland’s District Manager in Inverness, Ross & Skye, said:
“Given the environmental and landscape sensitivity, we have worked closely with Green Highland Renewables who are committed to exemplar schemes which absolutely minimise impact while contributing to the renewable energy targets of the country. Each installation will operate for a minimum of 40 years, cumulatively helping to secure the longer term energy future for Scotland.”
For further information on the project please visit the Forest Enterprise Scotland website
Or follow the project via the dedicated Twitter feed @affrichydro