New Chief Financial Officer Stephen Hutt has joined Green Highland Renewables as the Perth developer turns its focus to acquiring existing schemes and development sites.

Hutt, who made his name as the highly successful CEO of the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland, has been tasked with helping the firm – which was acquired by infrastructure investors Ancala Renewables in 2015 – build, acquire and grow a long-term hydro portfolio.

To date the firm has focussed primarily on developing its own hydro projects.

The news is seen as a boost to the sector as the industry, hit hard by recent UK tariff cuts, meets for its annual conference in Perth tomorrow, May 18.

Commenting on his new role, Stephen Hutt said:

“Green Highland Renewables has built up a tremendous reputation as an active developer of small-scale run of river hydro schemes across the north of Scotland. Whilst we continue to have a strong pipeline of projects in construction, my role is to add impetus to our strategy of building and acquiring hydro assets with the goal of establishing a significant operational portfolio by 2018.

“Well constructed and financed hydro schemes offer stable long term returns and this is clearly attractive to institutional investors. Ancala Partners has given us a strategic mandate to secure further development opportunities in order to grow our operational asset base and I look forward to helping the team at Green Highland Renewables build on its portfolio both organically and through acquisition.”

Welcoming Stephen to his new role, Green Highland Renewables Chief Executive Officer Mark Mathieson said:

“Stephen joins us at a time of change for the industry. The radical cuts in feed-in tariffs announced by the UK Government at Christmas were a heavy blow to the small-scale hydro sector in Scotland and signal an end to virtually all new schemes coming forward after 2017.

“We will continue to build out our pipeline of consented schemes and aim to use our expertise to own and operate a significant portfolio in the years ahead. Stephen has tremendous experience across a range of different sectors and I am confident he will make a very positive contribution to our business as it moves into this exciting new phase,” Mathieson concludes.

Stephen Hutt  joins Green Highland Renewables from the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland where he was Chief Executive. During his five year tenure the charity saw record revenues, surpluses and capital investment.

He holds a degree in business studies and accounting from Edinburgh University and qualified as an accountant with CIMA.