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Construction starts on Lochy hydro project and Gilkes Energy hits major milestone

13th March 2015

Gilkes Energy is pleased to announce that construction of the 2MW Lochy Hydro project has started.

Lochy Hydro is located at Inverlochy, just east of Dalmally, and is the fourth hydro project to be developed by Gilkes Energy on the National Forest Estate managed by Forestry Commission Scotland.

The project is a classic medium-head design incorporating a single intake, high-pressure pipeline and twin Francis turbines in a purpose built powerhouse.

Planning permission and the SEPA CAR license were received in late 2013. After a detailed tendering and procurement exercise the project has now formally achieved 'Financial Close' and the civil construction team started to mobilize in February. The scheme is planned to be operational by April 2016.

The project also represents a significant milestone for Gilkes Energy in that it has now invested £50m in hydro projects to date.

Commenting on the project, Carl Crompton of Gilkes Energy said: "Thanks to everyone who has worked on bringing this ambitious project to fruition. It's the largest project Gilkes Energy has developed to date and it's exciting to finally see spread sheets and legal documents now converting into 'diggers on the ground' and the project start to physically take shape. The project will support approximately 20 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 project by the Gilkes Service Centres in Invergordon and Fort William.

Additionally this project brings the total capital deployed in Gilkes Energy projects to £50m which is clearly a significant milestone. Importantly this £50m figure is invested capital not just a headline commitment which may or may not ultimately be invested. 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 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 both community benefit payments and local employment. We look forward to investing the next £50m!"

Click here for more information on the project.