small hydro

Dulas develops small hydro schemes in Scotland

Renewable energy developer Dulas has begun construction on two medium-scale run-of-river hydro schemes in central Scotland.
Dulas develops small hydro schemes in Scotland

The two medium-scale run-of-river hydro schemes in central Scotland have a total capacity 1.3 MW and are being developed for existing clients seeking to expand their clean energy portfolios ahead of Scotland’s 2020 targets. The Scottish government is aiming to generate enough renewable energy by 2020 to cover the equivalent of 100 percent of the country’s annual demand for power. However the country still has a long way to go in order to meet this target and the Scottish Renewables Association is predicting that renewables will only cover 86 percent of the country’s annual energy demand by 2020.

Hydropower has traditionally been the second largest provider of renewable energy in Scotland, with an installed capacity of 1.5 GW. However, while large-scale projects continue to be announced, cuts to subsidies have threatened the progress of the small to medium hydro sector. In this uncertain environment, where developers are no longer able to lock in financial incentives for planned projects, it is increasingly important to maximise the speed and efficiency of the planning process in the short-term, as well as the long-term performance of projects themselves.

Dulas has over 20 years of hydro consultancy and development experience and is well-placed to assist landowners in overcoming the financial challenges of an ever-evolving market. The company is due to start the development of a 1.2 MW hydro scheme with a 2 kilometre private wire to the grid for an estate within the Loch Lomond and the Trassachs National Park in the Highlands. The client had already commissioned Dulas to refurbish a previous hydro project and has since sought to further expand its portfolio with this additional scheme. The second estate, in Perth and Kinross has also chosen to expand its hydro portfolio with a 100 kW scheme located on the shores of Loch Rannoch. This again follows a previous refurbishment of a medium-scale hydro scheme on their estate by Dulas.

The schemes will help the respective estates to cover their rising energy-costs as well as providing them with access to additional revenue streams through financial incentive schemes and opportunities to sell excess power back to the grid.

“Hydro technology has proved a particularly effective source of energy in rural parts of Scotland, offering landowners and estate managers clean and cost-effective energy throughout the year” said Phil Horton, Managing Director of Dulas. Given ever-rising energy prices, hydro schemes also provide invaluable sources of alternative income for clients looking to sell unused power back to the grid or benefit from the various renewable energy incentive schemes.”

Mr Horton added that cuts to incentives and the end of the pre-accreditation process have posed serious challenges to the market. Many hydro projects have been put on hold or cancelled. Given the financial and environmental value these projects can unlock for landowners, it is important that developers and consultants work together to maximize the efficiency of sites, safeguarding the future of the market.

Dulas is the Hydro Sector Sponsor for the Scottish Renewables Annual Conference on the 1st and 2nd March, in Edinburgh.

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