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Gilkes Energy is pleased to announce that construction of the 1.5MW Eas a Ghaill Hydro project has started.
Eas a Ghaill Hydro is located at Inverlochy, just east of Dalmally, and is the third hydro project to be developed by Gilkes Energy on the National Forest Estate managed by Forestry Commission Scotland.
The project is a classic high-head design incorporating three intakes, a high-pressure pipeline and a Gilkes Twin-Jet Pelton turbine in a purpose built powerhouse.
Planning permission and the SEPA CAR license were received in late 2013. After a detailed tendering and procurement exercise the project has now formally achieved 'Financial Close' and the civil construction team started to mobilize in November. The scheme is planned to be operational by December 2015.
The scheme is the fourth Gilkes Energy project to secure funding from Downing Renewables - a specialist fund manager focussed on renewable energy project development.
Commenting on the project, Carl Crompton of Gilkes Energy said: "After nearly five years of work 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. So thanks to everyone who has worked on getting the project to this stage. The main civil contractor on this project is Global Infrastructure, with pipe-laying services provided by specialist subcontractor Grant Ltd. The project will support approximately 20 full-time jobs at a very local level, for the duration of the construction period, along with a permanent part-time local 'caretaker' role once operational. Additionally, the project is being designed and project-managed from the Gilkes Energy Glasgow office, and so supports an additional 7-8 highly skilled jobs. Finally, maintenance and routine servicing will be provided to the project by the Gilkes Service Centre in Fort William. The project will contribute to the fight against climate change and to Scotland's renewable energy targets, it supports a number of Scottish jobs, both highly skilled and at the 'super-local' level, and it contributes to the local community via a market leading 'Community Benefit' annual payment once the project is up and running".
David Jardine, Forestry Commission Scotland's district manager in West Argyll added: "Forestry Commission Scotland is very pleased that the National Forest Estate is contributing to the development of clean and renewable energy. We have been working with Gilkes Energy and a number of local agencies on this project over the past few years so it is good to see work commencing. It is encouraging to know that local communities will receive community benefit payments as part of the development."
Commenting on the project, David Freeder of Downing's Renewables team said: "We are very pleased to have reached Financial Close on this project, our fourth project with Gilkes Energy. Hydro projects have a positive impact at a very local level providing jobs and income to the local Community, whilst also contributing towards 2020 energy targets. The relatively quick timescales of the Financial Close process are important as hydro projects come under time pressure from Feed-In-Tariff degression. We look forward to funding this project and working with the Gilkes Energy team and FCS to bring the facility to fruition."
Click here for more information on the project.