UK-based Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has been given approval by the Scottish Executive for the construction of a 3.5MW hydroelectric generating scheme on the Abhainn na Coinnich, Kingairloch, Ardgour, Inverness-shire.
The project is a joint venture with Foster Yeoman. It will be financed and operated by SSE but will be maintained by Foster Yeoman, owners of Kingairloch Estate and the Glensanda Quarry. It is anticipated the cost will be around US$8M.
The project will involve rebuilding an existing dam on Loch Uisge to a maximum of 6m in height and the installation of a underground pipeline to a small power station about 3km downstream. The level of Loch Uisge will be raised by 3m, requiring a stretch of the road alongside to be realigned. However the current road floods frequently and the new road will avoid long diversions for the local community during wet spells. Amalgamated Construction has been awarded the contract to construct the scheme which should be completed by April 2004.
David Sigsworth, SSE’s generation director, said: ‘This is the second new small hydro project that SSE has identified in recent times. Our new 3MW hydro power station at Cuileig near Ullapool is up and running.’
Cuileig was designed to minimise the environmental impact and the Kingairloch scheme has also been developed to take the environment into account. The project for example includes a fish pass on Loch Uisge, the regeneration of native woodland, the provision of tourist parking alongside the reservoir and footpath improvements. The power station is to be designed to be similar in style to local estate buildings.
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