Green Highland Renewables last week officially switched on their hydro scheme in the hills above Kinlochleven at an event attended by the local community.
The £13.6 million development was declared open by local Lochaber councilor Andrew Baxter. The event was attended by members of the Kinlochleven Community Council along with new landowner Jahama Highland Estates (the property arm of GFG Alliance which bought the smelting business in Lochaber and Kinlochleven last year).
Speaking at the event Alex Reading, Development Director at Green Highland Renewables said:
“Hydro-electricity has been part of the history of Kinlochleven for more than a century and this new scheme is the latest chapter in this story. It has provided skilled employment during construction, and we’d like to thank the local community for their support since work began in early 2016. We are pleased the project will now offer a steady stream of income to this community in the years ahead.
“The recent reduction in tariffs by the UK Government means the economics of building new hydro schemes is increasingly challenging; however we still believe there is scope for further projects in the Highlands, provided they are in the right location and are built with care.”
A new Kinlochleven Common Good Fund is being established to disperse the £5,000 per MW per annum community benefit from the scheme.
Local independent councillor Andrew Baxter said:
“Over a century ago, Kinlochleven became the ‘Electric Village’ and we are rightly proud of that heritage. How appropriate that so many years after those industrial pioneers established modern Kinlochleven we are opening a new hydro scheme that will also benefit the community.
“I am delighted that Green Highland Renewables is providing the full community benefit recommended by Highland Council. When established, this new fund will support events and projects throughout the village with priorities decided by villagers.”
The Kinlochleven development marks the culmination of a busy two years for Green Highland. In total the firm has developed 11 projects financed by funds managed by Ancala Partners, the independent mid-market infrastructure investment manager which acquired the firm in April 2015.