Saturday, 18 February 2012

Hydro electric scheme near the Great Glen Way - this Spean Bridge accommodation provider has a look

Scottish and Southern Energy has submitted an application for consent to the Scottish Government to construct the largest hydro project to be built in Scotland and the first brand new pumped storage scheme to be developed in Great Britain since work began on the Dinorwig scheme in Wales in 1974.

It would be located high above Loch Lochy  about 10 miles North of Spean Bridge. If you have walked the Great Glen Way think of it being on your left as you walked North from Gairlochy along the shore of Loch Lochy. This is a link to a Bing map showing the high coire and the stream flowing from it and it must be along the route of the stream that the dam will be constructed Sron a'Choire Ghairbh. There is a rocky stream that cuts across the Great Glen Way at Kilfinnan farm which I presume is the stream in question as it prepares to enter Loch Lochy.

If you are walking the Great Glen Way in the near future do not be concerned as even if consent is granted for the works it will not commence until 2014 at the earliest. It is interesting however that they have planned to reroute the walk even at this stage in their plans.

As people and a business that likes to do the right environmental things we appreciate the need for more low carbon energy sources but this project will surely have a massive impact on the natural environment. From my laymans understanding the project will be a larger version of the Cruachan Hydro scheme near Oban which is actually an interesting place to visit when your are in this area. From memory this hydro scheme has little visual impact.

If it does go ahead it would be good to see more UK based contractors involved than seems to have been the case at the recent scheme above Fort Augustus.

Two final links. SSE's own press announcement and Power Engineerings news article

The picture below is of the Caledonian Canal looking South with the hills high above Loch Lochy to the right. The proposed scheme would be in behind those hills and flowing out into Loch Lochy near the canal

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