Bunavoneader hydro-electric scheme is finally operational!
Back in July, Ross-shire Engineering handed the scheme over to River Generation Limited (RGL). RGL is the developer and the joint venture company formed by the Trust and Sustainable Technology Investors Limited. The main works were complete and the scheme entered a phase of close monitoring. Despite three weeks in October with no rain, we have now emerged from this phase, and all systems are go, as we enter the rainy season.
Nestling amongst the houses in Bunavoneader, you’ll see a new building , the size of a double garage, with a red roof. This is the turbine house located at the bottom of 250m of 630mm pipe. The pipe brings water form a new intake up the river behind the old dam. The turbine is located inside, along with the electricity grid connection point. Water is returned to the river at the side of the building.
Inside the building is a 100kW Francis turbine. You’ll just see in the picture above, the intake pipe entering the buiding, under all the dials on the wall. The pipe or penstock feeds water around the outside of the turbine, through the blades and out from the middle of the casing, down into the ground. The big blue box with the black wires is the generator which is attached to the spinning blades to make electricity.
The scheme is now exporting electricity to the Harris grid. It is forecast to generate 371,000 units of electricity each year -enough to power over 100 homes. The crofter and the Bunavoneader-Meavaig North grazings committee will benefit directly from a share of the rent paid by RGL. The wider North Harris & Scalpay residents will benefit indirectly through the Trust’s share. The scheme is a good example of how the Trust aims to make best use of the 25,000ha North Harris estate for the benefit of the whole community.