Small hydropower returns to Scotland’s Dawyck Estate

A new 11 kW micro hydropower project has helped make Scotland’s Dawyck Botanic Garden the first carbon-neutral botanical garden in the United Kingdom.

The plant, launched by Scottish Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing, benefitted from a US$50,520 grant from EDF Energy’s Green Fund.

The project was designed and constructed by small-scale hydropower developer BabyHydro on the site of a previous hydroelectric plant that had long ceased operation. The plant uses waters from a River Tweed tributary, Scrape Burn, which runs through the garden.

“Having looked at how electricity was generated in Victorian times, we combined past experience with modern technology to create a much more sustainable future for the garden,” said Simon Milne, Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Heating for the Dawyck visitor center, which was completed in 2008, is already provided by a biomass boiler.

“The Dawyck Garden is a fantastic example of how different renewable technologies — hydro and the existing biomass boiler — can work in tandem to produce a low-carbon energy mix and help Scotland reach its ambitious national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050,” Ewing said.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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