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Our sister company Gilkes Energy Ltd is pleased to announce that construction of the 0.9MW Kames Hydro project has started.
Kames Hydro is located on the east shore of Loch Awe and is the first of a number of hydro projects 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 a single intake, 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 last week. The scheme is planned to be operational by March 2015.
The scheme is the second 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 four 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. The civil contractor on this project is George McNaughton and Son, who is based just round the corner from the project in Lochgilphead, Argyll. The project therefore will support approximately 15 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 4-5 highly skilled jobs. Finally, maintenance and routine servicing will be provided to the project by the Gilkes Service Centre in Fort William. The local community benefits from a market leading 'Community Benefit' annual payment once the project is up and running. So although it's been a lot of work to get to this stage I think all involved can sleep well at night; 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."
Commenting on the project, David Jardine, from Forestry Commission Scotland said: "We are delighted to see the start of this project and have been working with the Gilkes Energy team on this project for a number of years - it is exciting to finally see machinery arriving and "ground being broken'. The Commission is very pleased with the co-operation and good relations we have had throughout with the local community, Argyll and Bute Council Planners, SEPA, SNH and SSE , and look forward to watching the project take shape. The Kames project is the first of a number of hydro projects Gilkes Energy will build on the National Forest Estate, and we hope that this one continues to progress well."
Commenting on the project, James Lynch of Downing Renewables said "We are very pleased to have reached Financial Close on this project, our second project with Gilkes Energy. Hydro schemes 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 working with the Gilkes Energy team and FCS to bring this project to fruition as Hydro will continue to form a core part of our renewable energy investment strategy going forward."