Established in 2012, Harlaw Hydro Ltd is a Industrial Provident Society established to own and operate a micro-hydro scheme at Harlaw reservoir, near Balerno in Edinburgh. In 2013 they launched community share offer and raised £400k from 250 members in the community who were offered a 4% return on
In 2015, 2 years after raising the initial finance, the community hydro scheme in Harlaw starting generating green electricity to sell back to the grid. The scheme generates approximately 325,702 kWh a year, enough to power about 101 homes.
The additional income generated allows Harlaw Hydro to contribute to other projects and initiatives within the local area through their partners the Balerno Village Trust. It is expected that over the next 20 years over £20,000 will flow into the local area.
Funds generated from the hydro scheme have gone towards important local projects such as an all-weather sports pitch at the local high school. Through their ‘Community Chest’, small grants of up to £500 are available to local organisations to deliver their charitable activities.
A unique solution
150 years ago, there were water wheels all the way down Edinburgh’s iconic Water of Leith which generated power for the majority of the city. By investing in Harlaw Hydro, members were also able to contribute to bringing this heritage into the modern day.
The hydro build marks the culmination of several years of planning, fundraising and managing by members of the Balerno community. The were no public funds or private bank loans required to deliver the hydro scheme.
“We had our share launch in 2013, expecting to get around half the money we needed on the basis we’d be able to borrow the rest. In-fact we got everything we needed inside about three weeks.That astonished us but hopefully a number of community groups see what we’ve done and think ‘ we can do that too’.”
Martin Petty, Chairperson