Highland Council planning 100-kW Archimedes screw hydroelectric development

The Scottish Highland Council has submitted a planning application for a low-head hydroelectric development at the Torvean Weir on the River in Inverness.

The proposed scheme will use an Archimedes screw turbine and have a generating capacity of up to 100 kW and an average annual renewable energy output of about 600,000 kWh. The energy generated will return an income to the council through the feed in tariff mechanism and be connected to the local Archive Centre and leisure center.

The area surrounding the site will be planted with native species. Directly to the west of the site is a new bridge, constructed as part of the Inverness West Link development and to the east is an existing lade that formerly supplied water to a historic mill, which was demolished a number of years ago.

In 2017, the renewable energy project was estimated to generate an income of £90,000 to £120,000 (US$118,900 to $158,600) for the Council. The annual operating cost will be in the region of £15,000 (US$19,800). The installation will allow a controlled water flow, as well as providing sufficient screen to protect fish. The turbine is designed to have a low environmental impact.

“This modern, innovative project provides an excellent opportunity for the Council to generate income and renewable energy and make savings,” said Councillor Allan Henderson, chair of the council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee. “The Archimedes screw is a fascinating piece of engineering using proven technology which in itself should be a feature of significant interest and may hopefully inspire young scientists of tomorrow.”

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