The Scottish Government has given the go-ahead to a new hydro-electric project in the Highlands. A five megawatt development near Kinlochleven at Loch Eilde Mor on the western side of Scotland is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power around 2,400 homes. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said careful consideration was given to the scheme, "which will provide a new green energy source and sustainable economic benefits - an excellent example of using our natural assets in harmony with the environment."
The plan also includes the refurbishment of the existing Innerhadden hydro-scheme near Kinloch Rannoch in Perth and Kinross which will see the installation of two new weirs with self cleaning screens. These will have an expected capacity of 1.4 MW.
Scotland is on track to become one of the world's most environmentally sound countries, with a plan to generate all of its electricity by renewable energy by 2020 and the government has announced a moratorium on building any new nuclear plants.
This plan suffered a setback this week, when German power company RWE pulled out of the planned four megawatt Siadar Wave Energy Project to be built near the Isle of Lewis, which has caused financial problems for other investors in the scheme. Scotland is thought to have some of the best wave and tidal resources in Europe, which are capable of generating a significant amount of Scotland's power needs but private finance has been wary of unproven technologies.
In 2009, 27 per cent of Scottish electricity demand came from renewables. There is around 7 Gigawatts (GW) of renewables capacity installed, under construction or planned around Scotland, which will take the country beyond the interim target of 31 per cent of Scotland's electricity demand from renewables by 2011.
The availability of reliable hydro-electric power is obviously going to be a major part of Scotland's renewable energy mix, and is of course a proven, mature technology, which cannot be said of wave or tidal power, which are still technologies with a lot of development work ahead.
Top Image Credit: © Graham Shanks