Despite the challenging weather and terrain, RWE Innogy UK’s Cia Aig Hydroelectric Scheme has started generating electricity.
Consented by the Scottish Government in June 2010, construction of the 2 MW run-of-river scheme got underway in April 2014.
Civil contractor I & H Brown are now nearing completion of works on the Cia Aig site, located at the eastern end of Loch Arkaig, approximately 15km to the north of Fort William.
Extensive ground works have been undertaken that have enabled the laying and burying of the 3.2km pipeline that runs from the intake weir on the Abhainn Chiaaig River to the power house.
Plant contractor Andritz Hydro then completed commissioning of the plant this month.
Mary Drury, Hydro UK Development & Projects Manager, RWE Innogy, said: “It is always energising when we first start generating at a significant project like Cia Aig. This takes RWE Innogy’s operational hydro schemes in Scotland to 15 with a total capacity of up to 30 MW.
“Whilst we continue to focus on our existing schemes in development and planning, and on our Grudie hydro scheme which has just moved into construction., RWE Innogy UK is also looking for additional opportunities to increase our hydro portfolio.”
Donald Cameron of Lochiel of Achnacarry Estate, is delighted to see the fifth hydro scheme on the Estate now generating. He said: “The development of small-scale hydro schemes has been an interesting and important part of the diversification taking place on the estate. RWE has been an excellent partner, and whilst the increase in traffic movements during the week while construction was underway did not go unnoticed, it was never really that intrusive.
“Both the estate and the local community are impressed with the ease at which our relationship with RWE has developed over the three years and the manner in which any issues raised have been discussed and resolved amicably.”
I & H Brown’s Managing Director Scotland, Alvar Kenwell, commented: “We are delighted that our close working relationship with RWE Innogy has successfully delivered the civil engineering work for this prestigious and challenging project.
“We should give full credit to the site team. They have worked through two tough winters in this remote and exposed location, with a good safety record and with minimal impact on the sensitive local environment.”