Posts Tagged ‘bunavoneader’

Another hydro opportunity pops up

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Just when you’re really not getting anywhere with a project, another one comes along.

Scottish Water has spent a fortune upgrading the Water Treatment Works at Carragreich. This is now supplying purified water to the majority of North Harris and Scalpay. Last year a pipe was installed over the hill to Maraig; connecting the village to the new water main. In doing so, another of the remote, village-scale treatment works becomes redundant. And there’s the opportunity. Plenty of water tumbles down from behind the Clisham, now with no-one to use it. Maybe we can design a 50kW scheme that will get around the grid constraint that is holding up the bigger Bunavoneader project. All projects >50kW are on hold until the undersea cable and interconnector are in place… and who knows when that will be?

Community Energy Scotland has offered to put together a tender for a feasibility study for this river as well as two other potential community schemes on Lewis. Hopefully in a few months time we’ll have a better idea of the costs involved, and how productive the river could be.

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Hydro scheme update – November

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A short video giving an update on progress this year.

Hydro update Nov11 from North Harris Trust on Vimeo.

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Micro-hydro – what does it look like?

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the intake weir

In late January, I was lucky enough to attend a hydro briefing session at the Abernethy Trust’s centre at Ardgour, near Fort William. The Aberbethy Trust is a charitable organisation that runs a number of Outdoor Activity Centres. Last year they commissioned a 90kW hydro-electric scheme at their Ardgour site, so a number of community groups descended on the site to find out how they did it. Community Energy Scotland rounded up groups from Calendar, Applecross, Sleat-Skye, Mull, Creetown-Dumfries and Harris all of whom are in the process of developing schemes.

The Bunavoneader hydro-electric scheme will be of a similar size, so we were very interested in their designs and their choice of equipment.

a 90kW turbine and generator

The Ardgour scheme is on a very small river that drops 120m to the shore of Loch Linnie – Unlike the Bunavoneader scheme which has lots of water but only a 30m drop to the turbine house. The turbine is much the same size though, so it gives a good idea of what we will be siting below the bridge at Bunavoneader. The big advantage that the Ardgour site has is in the ground conditions.  They were able to build a track up to the intake with an excavator –no need to blast rock or ship in tons of infill. This goes some way to explain why the North Harris scheme will cost three times the Ardgour final bill.

Grid Connection

 

The scheme started generating in June. The ultimate aim is to build a private electricity grid around the site. This will feed their own electricity into the centre and all the surrounding staff houses. For now though, electricity is fed into the national grid and sold. Abernethy is one of the first schemes to find its way through the new  Feed-in-Tariff process. Six months on and they are hoping to get their first cheque .

The story to take away from the visit is that it is possible. Barry, like many of the community representatives is not an engineer or a hydro-developer, but by sheer persistence over a three year timeframe, has delivered a scheme that is now earning money for his charity. So successful has it been, he is now planning a second scheme in the next valley along.

Thanks to Community Energy Scotland for facilitating, Development Trust Association of Scotland for funding the trip, and Barry Edmundson from Abernethy, the brains behind the scheme.

http://www.gilkesenergy.com/projects/10/57/Abernethy-Trust.html

 http://www.abernethy.org.uk/ardgour/

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