Children from Arrochar Primary School, Sir Malcolm Colquhoun Chairman of Luss Estates Company, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy and Duncan MacLachlan, Chairman of Arrochar Community Hydro.
Community comes together for Arrochar Hydro official opening
Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, chairman of Luss Estates Company, has officially opened the new Community Hydro scheme for Arrochar on Loch Long.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, was also present when members of the local community came together with the wider renewable energy community and joined a piper and local school children, from Arrochar Primary School, to walk up to the power house.
Guests were able to see the hydro scheme officially turned on and then see inside the powerhouse. Highland Eco Design, the project contractors, were on hand to discuss the mechanics of the power house and explain the projected income which will be generated to the benefit of the two local development trusts: Luss & Arden Development Trust and Arrochar & Tarbet Development Trust.
The Arrochar Community Hydro scheme was initially proposed by Luss Estates Company as a means to enable the local communities to generate income to reinvest in their communities.
Sir Malcolm Colquhoun (pictured right) said: “Back in October 2013 we proposed the idea of a community hydro to the Arrochar & Tarbet and Luss & Arden Development Trusts. I am delighted that this initiative has come to fruition, and wish the venture well. It offers a unique ability to the Development Trusts to raise funding to invest in the local community.
“I congratulate all those involved in delivering this project, in particular I thank Duncan MacLachlan for taking up the cudgel and driving the overall project.”
Duncan MacLachlan, chairman of Arrochar Community Hydro Society, who has been instrumental in pushing the project since its inception and said: “As a member of the Arrochar & Tarbet community throughout my lifetime, raised in a Hydro Electric housing development for Hydro board employees from the Loch Sloy Scheme that came on line in 1951, developing a small hydro scheme for our future community benefit just had to be done.
“With great help and support from everyone throughout, from the Land Owner, Luss Estates Company to the National Park Planning, Scottish Government through Local Energy Scotland and CARES development officers, consultants, contractors and with a fully supportive community behind us, we have managed to complete our project.
“We must though recognise the generous financial support from all the ethical funders, throughout the UK and the 22 other Community Renewable energy projects, managed by Energy4All cooperative society, who took up our Community Share offer in two marvellous weeks in July 2017.
“With full funding in place the construction project was able to be started in September 2017 and completed in March 2018 to be eligible for the Ofgem Feed -In Tariff we’d been offered. This, despite some challenging weather and last minute issues with the SSE cable passing under the West Highland railway.
“All this is behind us now and we look forward to the rain levels that attracted the first large Post War Hydro Electric project scheme to this area, bringing the present and future community further benefits for many years to come.”
Following the official opening the community and guests walked down to the Three Villages Hall for lunch. The Hall will benefit from funds generated from the hydro scheme and provide a social, cultural, recreational and educational hub for local residents.