Gilkes breaks ground on 900-kW Kames small hydro project

Work has begun on the 900-kW Kames small hydropower project along the eastern short of Loch Awe in Argyll and Bute.

The project is being developed by Gilkes Energy on the National Forest Estate managed by Forestry Commission Scotland.

Gilkes said the project is a “classic high-head design” that will incorporate a single intake, high-pressure pipeline that will fuel a Gilkes twin-jet Pelton turbine.

“After nearly four years of work we are very pleased to have achieved financial close on this project,” Gilkes representative Carl Crompton said. “The project now has the certainty and confidence of both the Feed-In Tariff and a fully-secured funding package, so we can now concentrate on building the scheme.”

Planning permission and a Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) license were received last this past year, Gilkes said, with funding coming from Downing Renewables.

Work on the plant is expected to take about a year, during which time the project will support 15 full-time jobs at a “very local level” and several more at its Glasgow office, the company said.

Kames is the second Gilkes hydropower project to be financed by Downing Renewables, following the 1.7-MW Bruar plant on the Atholl Estate near Perthshire.

“Hydro schemes have a positive impact at a very local level providing jobs and income to the local Community, whilst also contributing towards 2020 energy targets,” Downing Renewables official James Lynch said. “The relatively quick timescales of the Financial Close process are important as hydro projects come under time pressure from Feed-In-Tariff digression.”

HydroWorld.com reported earlier this year that Gilkes Energy had completed work on the 1.9-MW Ederline hydropower plant near Ford, Scotland. The company has also recently completed a 730 kW project in Pitlochry and a 700 kW project in near Glen Strathfarrar.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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