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Construction starts on 3 large new hydro projects

13th August 2015

Gilkes Energy is pleased to announce that construction has started on 3 large new projects.

The three projects, all located in different areas of Scotland, are all 1MW or above in size, but have very different configurations:

Taodail Hydro is located near Strathcarron, Wester Ross and is a 1.35MW, low-head, high-flow project incorporating a twin intake, large bore pipeline and twin-jet Turgo turbine. The photograph above shows a turbine of the exact same specification as installed on the recent Pungwe project by Gilkes in Zimbabwe.

Leacann Hydro is located near the village of Furnace, Arygll and is a 1MW, medium-head, medium-flow project incorporating a triple intake, medium bore pipeline and twin-jet Pelton turbine.

Ben Glas Hydro is located just north of Loch Lomond, and is a 1.3MW, high head, low-flow project incorporating a twin intake, high pressure pipeline and twin-jet Pelton turbine.

Commenting on the projects, Carl Crompton of Gilkes Energy said: "Thanks to everyone who has worked on bringing these ambitious projects to fruition. It's unusual for three such large projects to independently come to fruition at the same time. The three projects will support approximately 40 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, all based in Scotland. Once operational the project will employ a permanent part-time local 'caretaker' and maintenance and routine servicing will be provided to the projects by the Gilkes Service Centres in Invergordon and Fort William.

The three projects, although similar in terms of installed capacity are all very different: Taodail for example drops a vertical distance of 101m (the "Head" of the scheme) and uses a physically large Turgo turbine and large bore (1.2m) pipe. Ben Glas drops a vertical distance of 316m and uses a much smaller Pelton turbine, and smaller diameter (600mm) pipe. Both projects produce approx. 1.3MW but have very different engineering specifications, technical challenges and capital costs. It demonstrates that there is no such thing as an "average" hydro project.

These three projects bring the total capital deployed in Gilkes Energy projects to more than £60m which is clearly a significant milestone. Hydro project development at this commercial scale isn't easy - we need to manage the diverse interests of the statutory bodies, local stakeholders, landowners and investors. Additionally we have to work to very tight timescales due to deadlines imposed by the structure of the Feed In Tariff. There is plenty of raw hydro resource out there but bringing projects to fruition - through planning, permitting, design, procurement, financing and construction is actually quite challenging, and you need a dedicated team to do this.

The professional team we have put together at Gilkes Energy includes engineers, project managers and finance specialists, all focussed on one thing - delivering quality hydro projects. Unlike other developers and consultants we offer a 'one stop shop' of capital and delivery ie investment and the expert design and project management services to realise that investment. This combination is highly important especially when the industry is busy, as it is today with projects under pressure from ever-tighter Feed In Tariff deadlines.

Each project we deliver makes a small but significant step towards our national renewable energy targets, and each project has a positive 'ripple effect' on the local economy as a result of local employment."

See Our Projects for more information on all our projects, or Get In Touch if you have a project which requires capital investment and help with delivery.