The Mucomir small hydropower plant in Scotland is now back on the grid, following the modernization of equipment at the plant, technology group Voith has announced.

Operated by SSE,  the upgraded project was commissioned back in the autumn and is now operating with improved cost efficiency and meets the strictest environmental standards.

For this project Voith was responsible for the new build, installation and commissioning of the turbine unit, installation of a control system, circuit breaker and hydraulic unit, and for refurbishing the generator.

“The modernization work was done during a shutdown, and because of the tight schedule, the fabrication and installation of the components were a major challenge,” explained Christian Merkl, Project Manager of Voith Hydro Germany. “However, thanks to our experience and our close cooperation with plant operator SSE, we were able to complete the project no less than three weeks ahead of schedule.”

The special design of the new turbine runner reduces adverse effects on fish and makes it easier for them to pass through it. This means that SSE is taking regional fishery interests into account and acknowledging the importance of the power plant for migratory fish in the local catchment area. In addition, as part of the upgrade, oil and grease-free bearings were installed to avoid environmental damage.

Peter Diver, Programmes Manager at SSE, says of the project: “The modernization of the Mucomir hydropower plant ensures the commercial viability of the facility while taking account of ecological factors and using the most effective technological solution. We are delighted to have implemented this important project with Voith as our partner.”

Following the upgrade, the Mucomir plant qualifies for feed-in tariff – resulting in improved remuneration for the power station and was an important part of the business case, securing the station for the future. As well as improved protection of fish and the environment, the use of ultra-modern developments in the hydraulic system also achieves greater efficiency. Moreover, the power plant is now equipped with a remote control system ensuring safe and efficient unmanned operation that also allows fast fault analysis where necessary.