Hydro scheme first to benefit from �60m green investment funding

An £8.5m hydro-electric power scheme is to be built to the north of Loch Lomond in Scotland, as part of a string of funding announced today for small-scale renewable projects.

Money will be ploughed first into the project at the River Allt Coire Chaorach, near Crianlarich, from a £60m funding pot for green initiatives led by the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB).

The 2MW hydro-power project will use the natural river flow to generate renewable electrical energy equivalent to what would be needed to power 1,900 homes.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said we should use all of the new and established technologies “to power our homes and businesses in a way that doesn’t damage the environment,” ahead of a visit to the GIB headquarters in Edinburgh. “This project will provide high-skilled jobs for the rural communities in Scotland,” he said.

The funding package is aimed at 30 'community-scale' projects across the UK, generating approximately 24MW of electricity, enough to power 17,500 homes.

The money will be used to provide between £1 million and £10 million of equity funding for projects including run-of-river hydro-power, onshore wind on brownfield sites such as industrial estates, and biogas projects including anaerobic digestion and landfill gas.

“In future we will see less reliance on a small number of large power stations and more focus on a network of smaller, locally generated, renewable sources of power,” said Lord Smith of Kelvin, chair of the GIB.

Capacity for new hydro-power initiatives across the UK allows for an additional 800MW that could power over 500,000 households. This could see an investment of over £3bn in remote rural communities, with most of the capacity in Scotland (80 per cent) said the GIB.

Richard Round, chief executive of Green Highland Renewables, said: “The sub-2 MW hydro power industry is extremely active in Scotland at present and the new funds will play an important role in helping developers secure the finance required to build schemes,”

GIB is making up to £50m available, with the Strathclyde Pension Fund investing a further £10m.

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