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Bruar Hydro is located on Atholl Estate, not far from Pitlochry, Perthshire. Gilkes Energy, together with the Estate Owners, the Troughton family, has developed the project.
The project is a classic medium-head design incorporating a single intake, high-pressure pipeline and twin Francis turbines in a purpose built powerhouse. The project utilises an existing dam to provide a modest amount of water storage.
Planning permission and the SEPA CAR license were received in late 2012. After a detailed tendering and procurement exercise the project has now formally achieved 'Financial Close' and construction will commence in the next 2 - 3 weeks. The scheme is planned to be operational by January 2015.
The scheme secured funding from Downing Renewables - a specialist fund manager focussed on renewable energy project development.
Commenting on the project, Jamie Troughton for Atholl Estates said "Atholl Estates is delighted to see the start of this project. We have been working with the Gilkes Energy team on this project for a number of years and it is exciting to finally see "diggers on the ground". This project is our fourth hydro project with Gilkes and a major long term investment for the Estate and its future. It has taken time to get going, but we approached the project knowing it is important to ensure everything is properly researched, consented, designed and financed. The estate is very pleased with the co-operation and good relations we have had throughout with the council and national park planners, SEPA, SNH and SSE and look forward to watching the project take shape."
Commenting on the project, David Tomb of Gilkes Energy said "We are very pleased to have achieved financial close on this project. The project now has the certainty and confidence of both the Feed In Tariff and a fully-secured funding package so we can now concentrate on building the scheme. The project is interesting in a number of ways; technically we had to work out how to use the existing dam structure without compromising its integrity; economically we had to work hard to make the project "work". The scheme has a high flow rate relative to others of this size and requires over 4 km of large diameter pipe. We therefore had to carefully crunch the numbers and make sure the project could be built within budget. We're really looking forward to now just 'getting stuck in' and a big thank-you to all those who have worked so hard on the project so far."
Commenting on the project, Ed Simpson of Downing Renewables said "We are very pleased to have reached financial close on this project. Downing always seeks to work with partners who have both the technical and financial expertise to deliver high quality projects on time and to budget, and Gilkes Energy has all the experience that we look for. The relatively fast financial close process is proof that our model is a viable alternative to 'traditional' project finance or secured lending - an important factor at the moment as hydro projects come under time pressure from Feed-In-Tariff degression. We at Downing are really looking forward to working with the Gilkes Energy team and the Atholl Estate to bring this project to fruition as we look to continue to make investments into renewable projects across the UK."
The above photograph shows the inaugural "turf-cutting" ceremony on 12th February 2014.
Click here for more information on the project.