PRESS RELEASE 26TH April 2017
HIGHLAND COMMUNITY HYDRO GETS THE GREEN LIGHT
Work begins on a new community hydro-electric scheme on the banks of Lochbroom
After nearly 8 months of extensive planning and preparation work, construction of BroomPower, the new renewable energy scheme for the Ullapool and Lochbroom area is now ready to begin.
The scheme, which successfully raised £900,000 last summer after an intense period of fundraising, is expected to generate income for community projects for the next 20-40 years, as well as up to a 4% pa return for investors once it becomes operational later this autumn. BroomPower joins the 400-plus community or locally owned renewable energy projects across Scotland that are driving the country’s move towards green energy.
Construction of the BroomPower hydro is being undertaken by a team of highly skilled experts, who have been chosen by BroomPower operators Lochbroom Community Renewables (LCR) for their track record in building small scale hydro schemes of this nature. They include Edinburgh-based renewable energy specialists Locogen, designer Hugh Campbell of Campbell of Doune and construction contractor Bobby Ross Ltd.
Tim Gauntlett, Chair of Lochbroom Community Renewables, the organisation running the scheme said “We’re hugely excited to have reached this very important milestone in the story of BroomPower. It’s taken months of hard work by many dedicated people to get us to this point and I think it’s fair to say there’s a mix of relief and genuine celebration to have at last reached the moment when the actual build can begin”.
The nature of this type of run-of-river hydro, which will be sited on a steep hillside, demands meticulous planning to ensure the all aspects of safety are considered and met. “Safety is and will remain our main priority in both the construction and operational phase, so it’s been vital to ensure the Method of Operation is correct for all concerned” says Tim. This, together with detailed lease negotiations with land-owners Forestry Enterprise Scotland (FES) to ensure everything is in order, has kept the BroomPower team very busy in the period since the fundraising target was reached.
The official ‘cutting the turf’ ceremony for the hydro construction is planned for 11:00am, Saturday 13th May at Braemore Hall, where local schoolchildren will join representatives of BroomPower and contractors to mark the occasion. The event will also include the announcement of the name of the BroomPower turbine, which has been the subject of a competition amongst local Lochbroom school children.
For further information, please contact:
Amanda Barry-Hirst on 07860 313576, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Gauntlett on 07710 281028, email@example.com
Selected hi-res images available. www.broompower.org
Notes to Editors
- There are over 450 investors in BroomPower, with the majority putting in between £300 and £2,000 each. 54% were from the local area and 46% from the wider UK and beyond, including the Netherlands, France, US and Japan. Many local investors did so on behalf of children and grandchildren highlighting the long-term community and environmental benefit of a community-owned renewables energy scheme.
- The BroomPower hydro scheme is the community renewables scheme for the Lochbroom area of the Scottish North West Highlands. The scheme is run-of-river, making use of the steep hillside environment to generate the green energy.
- The scheme is owned and run by Lochbroom Community Renewables Ltd, a community benefit society established to raise funds and run the scheme. It is staffed entirely by volunteers.
- BroomPower is thought to be the last to obtain Feed-in-Tariff pre-accreditation.
- The site of the new BroomPower scheme is close to where Scotland’s very first hydro-electric scheme is thought to have been. It was operational in the late 1890s and owned by Sir John Fowler, the civil engineer most famous for his work on the London Underground and the Forth Bridge.