Sunart Community Hydro goes Live!

27th Jul 2016

Five months after construction started, the community shares hydro scheme in Strontian has been commissioned and is now generating and exporting electricity. Supported by Community Shares Scotland the Sunart community set out to raise the money to build the Hydro last year and within 5 months had exceeded its target by selling community shares.

“This is an exciting day for the community”, said Richard Laybourne, Chair of Sunart Community Renewables which led the project. “The hydro will generate income to spend on projects in our local community for years to come. We want to thank all our investors who bought community shares and the many supporters who have made the vision of 5 years ago into a reality.”

The 100kw Sunart Hydro scheme is harnessing the energy from the Allt nan Cailleach burn which runs down into Strontian via a previously disused dam which the community bought 2 years ago. “The last 5 months has seen frantic activity”, said Robert Dunn, whose vision for a community owned hydro helped to kick start the project. “Builders have had to race to construct the hydro before our pre-accreditation for a high Feed in Tariff rate ran out in November. The tight timetable combined with poor weather this summer has not made construction of the hydro easy, but now that it is running we welcome every drop of rain!”

Now that the Hydro is generating electricity the final touches are being put to the powerhouse (which houses the turbine) and to the surrounding hillside to ensure it has minimal visual impact in this beautiful part of Scotland. Plans are now underway to have an official opening on November 28 when members who invested in the scheme by buying community shares, and others supporters will meet to celebrate the achievement.