Perth hydro developer Green Highland Renewables has commissioned an innovative hydro scheme which is now generating future income for a remote Highland community.
The hydro specialists switched on the completed 465kW scheme on the Morvern peninsula in January – a month ahead of schedule.
The development on the Abhainn Shalachain river is now producing power to the National Grid and revenue which can be used locally.
Last year the people of Morvern became the first community group in Scotland to invest their own money in a hydro scheme on land managed by Forestry Commission Scotland. In total the Morvern Community Development Company and Morvern Community Trust invested £30,000 in the development.
Their stake will now provide the community with regular income in addition to the standard £5000 per annum per megawatt community benefit payment associated with onshore renewable projects.
Commenting on the switch on, Green Highland Renewables Chief Executive Officer Richard Round said: “We’re pleased to see this project up and generating full power ahead of schedule. It is good news for the local community, Green Highland Renewables and Triple Point, who we are working in partnership with to develop a number of schemes in our extensive portfolio."
Welcoming the news Dr Aileen McLeod, the Scottish Government’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Minister said: “This is an excellent example of how Scotland’s National Forest Estate is helping put communities at the heart of their own prosperity.
“Through this partnership, public land is being used to generate renewable energy and provide an income to a rural community."
Speaking on behalf of the Morvern Community Development Company and Morvern Community Trust, Angus Robertson, lead MCDC director for the project said: “We believe strongly in community ownership and development of our own natural resources. We would have liked to be able to afford a larger share but are delighted to be a part of it. We thank the development team and are looking forward to a nice wet future.”
The Abhainn Shalachain hydro project is one of a number being developed by Green Highland Renewables and other energy companies as part of a renewables programme being promoted across land managed by Forestry Commission Scotland. Through this programme, communities have an option of investing their own money into schemes for a regular income.