New hydro electric schemes will give Perthshire the power

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

When completed, the combined sites will generate approximately 3000MWh of renewable energy – enough to provide power for 450 homes in the Perthshire area.

Main contractors for the project are Lancaster based Askam Construction Ltd, whilst the design consultant and supervising engineer is Inter Hydro Technology. The turbine was supplied by Gilkes of Kendal.

The £1.7m development is the brain child of Atholl Estate, who took the project from its conception through to a commissioned scheme. The Edinburgh office of Gardiner and Theobald have provided cost and project management expertise, whilst further support for the project has come from a team of sub-consultants, including Atmos, Ash and Waterman.Dowally Burn & Loch

The project began in April 2011 and works carried out so far include the construction of the pipelines, each of which are approximately 2km in length and have a diameter of 600mm. In addition, power houses have been built at both Dowally Bur and Lochbroom Burn. The power houses are 70 sq m x 5m and have been constructed using locally sourced larch timber cladding and smooth render.

The scheme has also incorporated minor landscaping, which serves to screen parts of the buildings from adjacent properties.

As the project nears the final stages of development, all that remains is the installation of the mechanical and electrical equipment.Dowally Burn & Loch

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

He added: “Upon completion, the entire pipeline was buried and all of the landscape was reinstated in order to restore the site to how it looked previously.”

As Atholl Estate has been a part of the area for generations, the installation was undertaken with the surrounding area in mind. Inter Hydro Technology therefore made every effort to ensure that disruptions to the local community were kept to a minimum.Dowally Burn & Loch

David Bond said: “The project has not been without its challenges: the Lochbroom Burnthe site is adjacent to an area of conservation and at the Dowally Burn site there were some areas of archaeological interest.”

However thanks to a carefully considered plan of action, this situation didn’t prove too problematic and Inter Hydro Technology was able to work around the situation quickly and effectively.

David 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.”

Both sites will begin to generate renewable energy for the first time in March 2012, providing benefits for more than 400 Scottish homes.


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