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Construction Starts on Kendrum Hydro Project

5th October 2015

Gilkes Energy is pleased to announce that construction of the 0.75MW Kendrum Hydro project has started.

Kendrum Hydro is located on the Edinchip Estate, near Lochearnhead.

The project is a classic medium-head, medium-flow design incorporating a single intake, high-pressure pipeline and a four-jet, vertical Pelton turbine in a purpose built powerhouse.

The project was developed to the point of achieving planning permission and the necessary permits by RWE Innogy and further developed to a "construction ready" stage by Gilkes Energy during the summer of 2015. After a detailed tendering and procurement exercise the project has now formally achieved 'Financial Close' and the civil construction team are now fully mobilized. The scheme is planned to be operational by December 2016.

Commenting on the project, Carl Crompton of Gilkes Energy said: "The Kendrum Hydro project is a very typical project for this part of Scotland - single intake, medium head and flow, good existing access etc. From a technical perspective there are few challenges compared with some of the bigger projects we have tackled recently. We acquired this project from another developer so the single biggest challenge was completing the acquisition process in parallel to the design, tendering and procurement processes, to ensure the project started on time.

Thanks to everyone who has worked on bringing this project to fruition. The project will support approximately 10 full-time jobs at a very local level, for the duration of the construction period, along with 7-8 highly skilled engineering and project management jobs. Once operational the project will employ a permanent part-time local 'caretaker' and maintenance and routine servicing will be provided to the project by the Gilkes Service Centres in Invergordon and Fort William.

This project is only possible because of the current Feed In Tariff "FiT" mechanism. The project will make a small but significant step towards our national renewable energy targets, and each project has a positive 'ripple effect' on the local economy. So although the FiT is a form of subsidy it is "money well spent" in that it supports local jobs, contributes to the fight against climate change, and also supports a number of UK manufacturers. Unfortunately, the Government is now proposing a series of significant cuts to the Hydro Feed-In-Tariff which means that projects such as Kendrum will unlikely proceed in the future.

The Feed In Tariff mechanism was introduced in 2009 and has been very successful in stimulating investment in the UK hydro industry. Developers, consultants, contractors and various suppliers have all "geared up" to deliver a healthy pipeline of projects, only for the "rug to be pulled" from under the industry in the form of sudden cuts to the Feed In Tariff. It's sad and unnecessary, and will leave a significant untapped hydro resource undeveloped."

Click here for more information on the project.