Gilkes Energy is pleased to announce that construction has started on 3 new hydro projects.
The three projects, all located on the Attadale Estate near Loch Carron, are all different installed capacities and configurations:
Strathan Hydro is a 0.5MW, high-head, low-flow project incorporating a three intakes, a high pressure pipeline and a Gilkes twin-jet Pelton turbine. The photograph on the right shows excavations commencing in the powerhouse area.
Loch an Laoigh Hydro is a 1MW, low-head, high-flow project incorporating a single intake with a small amount of storage, large bore pipeline and a Gilkes Francis turbine.
Uisge Dubh Hydro is a 2MW, low-head, high-flow project incorporating twin intakes, large bore pipeline and twin Gilkes Francis turbines.
Commenting on the projects, Carl Crompton of Gilkes Energy said: “Thanks to everyone who has worked on bringing these ambitious projects to fruition. The three projects will support approximately 30 full-time jobs at a very local level, for the duration of the construction period, along with 7-8 highly skilled engineering and project management jobs, all based in Scotland. Once operational the project will employ a permanent part-time local ‘caretaker’ and maintenance and routine servicing will be provided to the projects by the Gilkes Service Centres in Invergordon and Fort William.
The three projects are all very different: Strathan for example drops a vertical distance of 177m (the “Head” of the scheme) and uses a new Gilkes ‘Streamline’ twin-jet Pelton turbine which is optimized for applications such as this, and uses a relatively small amount of water (360 l/s). Uisge Dubh on the other hand drops a vertical distance of just 85m and uses a much larger Francis turbine, and much more water than Strathan, nearly 10 times as much at 3,020 l/s. Both projects have very different engineering specifications, technical challenges and capital costs. It demonstrates that there is no such thing as an “average” hydro project.
These three projects bring the total capital deployed in Gilkes Energy projects to more than £70m which is clearly a significant milestone. Hydro project development at this commercial scale isn’t easy – we need to manage the diverse interests of the statutory bodies, local stakeholders, landowners and investors. Additionally we have to work to very tight timescales due to deadlines imposed by the structure of the Feed In Tariff. There is plenty of raw hydro resource out there but bringing projects to fruition – through planning, permitting, design, procurement, financing and construction is actually quite challenging, and you need a dedicated team to do this.
The professional team we have put together at Gilkes Energy includes engineers, project managers and finance specialists, all focussed on one thing – delivering quality hydro projects. Unlike other developers and consultants we offer a ‘one stop shop’ of capital and delivery ie investment and the expert design and project management services to realise that investment. This combination is highly important especially when the industry is busy, as it is today with projects under pressure from ever-tighter Feed In Tariff deadlines. All our projects to date have been delivered on time and budget, and provided it keeps raining, should deliver their target return on investment to shareholders!
Each project we deliver makes a small but significant step towards our national renewable energy targets, and each project has a positive ‘ripple effect’ on the local economy as a result of local employment.”