Identified early in the feasibility study process looking at the purchase of the estate this scheme aims to install a small run of river hydro scheme to generate 100kw of power. A small weir will be built in a river near to Seilebost from where water will be taken by pipeline to a small turbine house next to the old road that has been bypassed by the nearby causeway. Ross-shire Engineering have been appointed to design and build the proposed scheme.
Unlike wind turbines every hydro installation has to be designed specifically for the site and therefore this project has taken some time to develop. Delays have been caused by the FITs review in 2012 and issues with getting a secure grid connection. It is hoped that the grid connection will be resolved early in 2013, allowing the Trust to move forward with finalising financing of the project.
Total capital costs of the project (including arranging finance) are expected to be around £750,000. It is expected to generate around £120,000/year in gross income. Profit will be £15-20,000/yr rising to £100,000/year once all of the borrowing is repaid after 15 years. This highlights how hydro schemes are expensive to install but cheap to maintain in the long run.
The income generated will play a vital role in ensuring the future sustainability of the Trust and the wider community. It will cover core running costs and will allow the Trust to invest in new projects to provide more employment, housing and social opportunities in the area.
Link to original article: http://www.westharristrust.org/info/hydro-scheme/