Hydro power describes the use of falling or fast flowing water to generate electricity. Some of the biggest hydro projects in the UK are located in Scotland. This form of renewable energy can be stored for use at times of peak consumption and then used again. Therefore, harnessing hydro power could be instrumental in meeting clean energy targets.
According to the Institute of Civil Engineers, hydroelectric generation began in Scotland in the early 20th century and the country now has 85% of the UK’s hydroelectric energy resource. Around 12% of Scotland’s total electricity now comes from hydroelectric generation.
Three of Scotland’s Biggest Hydro Projects
Hydro is a well-established sector and taps into some of Scotland’s most abundant natural resources. The topography of the land in Scotland lends itself to successful hydro schemes. Plus, the relatively high levels of annual rainfall in the region, add to the effectiveness of hydro schemes in Scotland.
Glendoe Hydro Scheme
In terms of installed capacity, the largest of Scotland’s hydro projects is the Glendoe Hydro Scheme. Located near Fort Augustus, above Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland, the operation is run by SSE.
Operational since 2008, the scheme can generate up to 100MW. The drop of 600m from the reservoir to the turbine, is the highest of any in the United Kingdom. Consequently, creating an ideal environment for high levels of electricity production.
Lochaber Hydro Scheme
One of Scotland’s oldest, still operational hydro projects, Lochaber has been in use since January 1929. With an installed capacity of 65MW, the scheme is operated by GFG Alliance.
Designed to provide energy for the production of aluminum, the Lochaber scheme is located in the western Scottish Highlands.
Great Glen Hydro Scheme
Running for more than 100km from Inverness to Fort William, the SSE scheme follows a geological fault line that divides north and south Scotland.
Consisting of five major dams and six power stations, the project has been operational since 1957 and has an installed capacity of 36MW.
Studies have shown that there is still untapped potential in Scotland’s bodies of water. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for the sector.