New hydro electric schemes give Perthshire the power

Located just north of Dunkeld at Dowally Burn and Lochbroom Burn, is a dual hydro electric scheme in the final stages of development. 

The scheme is the brain child of Atholl Estates and are when completed it will each generate approximately 1500 MWh of renewable energy.  This will be enough to provide 450 homes in the Perthshire area with power, certainly providing a buzz for residents.

Valued at £1.7 million each, work began on the previously greenfield sites in Perthshire in April 2011 with Lancaster based Askam Construction Ltd, as the main contractor.  Overseeing the project as construction design consultant and supervising engineer was Inter Hydro Technology.  The turbine for the scheme was supplied by Gilkes of Kendal.

The company took the project from its initial conception through to a commissioned scheme with cost and project management expertise provided by the Edinburgh office of Gardiner and Theobald.   Support for the project has come from a team of sub-consultants including Atmos, Ash and Waterman.  As the project nears the final stages of development all that remains is the installation of the mechanical and electrical equipment.

Work already carried out on the hydro electric schemes has involved the construction of the pipelines, approximately 2 km in length, with a diameter of 600 mm; as well as power houses at both Dowally Burn and Lochbroom Burn.  These power houses, which are 70 sq m x 5 m high, were constructed with locally sourced larch timber cladding and smooth render.  The work carried out has also including some landscaping on both projects, which was implemented to screen parts of the buildings from adjacent properties.

With reference to the project, Inter Hydro Technology Associate David Bond said: “It was carefully considered to ensure that we got the most energy production out of each site, whilst remaining at a reasonable cost.”

He added: “On completion, the entire pipeline was buried and all the landscape was reinstated to what the site looked like prior to it being opened up.”

The installation was undertaken with a lot of care being paid to the surrounding area, which was important to Atholl Estates who has been a part of the area for generations.  This was something that Inter Hydro Technology respected when taking on the project and so every effort was taken to ensure that disruptions to the local community were kept to a minimum.

David said: “There was a challenge at Lochbroom Burn as the site was adjacent to an area of conservation and on the Dowally Burn site there were some areas of archaeological interest too.”

However thanks to a carefully considered plan of action, this situation didn’t prove too problematic for the company and it was able to work around the situation pretty quickly.

He added: “Thankfully we had good planning and leading times so everything was pretty much resolved before we actually started construction.

“If you have a plan to begin with then at least you can identify when something could go wrong and do something about it.”

Scottish homes should soon start to feel the benefit of the hydro electric scheme when both sites begin generating renewable energy for the first time towards the end of March 2012.

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