Triple Point Highland hydro project begins

AN ambitious project to develop three hydro schemes in the Highlands has begun.

Loch Arkaig about 15 miles north of Fort William. Picture: Alex Anderson

The mutually-supporting schemes are located on the north shore of Loch Arkaig, Achnacarry, about 15 miles north of Fort William.

Together they will have a total of 2.5MW of generating capacity – enough to power nearly 2000 homes.

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The projects, which are 750kW, 500kW and 1250kW, are being financed by Triple Point, the investment management group, which has now supported five Green Highland Renewables projects since 2010.

“Loch Arkaig is quite remote, with challenging topography, and the cost to connect each scheme to the grid individually would have been prohibitive,” said Green Highland Renewables Chief Executive Officer Richard Round.

“However by linking them together with a dedicated private grid, which then ties into the local distribution network, we can make all the projects generate an economic return.

“This is an innovative and holistic approach we have already used successfully in a number of other developments, and as degression of the hydro feed in tariff starts to bite, we will continue to be innovative in how we build and finance schemes.”

Two of the developments, Allt Dubh and Loch Blair, lie fully within the Achnacarry Estate, whilst the third, Allt Cheanna Mhuir, lies partly on Forestry Commission Scotland land.

The local Achnacarry, Bunarkaig and Clunes Community Group will receive a royalty payment in addition to a community benefit of £5000 per MW per annum.