Hydro investment supports employment and land management on Scottish estate

One of Scotland’s well-known country estates has built its fifth hydroelectric scheme which is helping to fund important land management work and support the continued employment of its 20-strong team.

Situated on the Morvern peninsula, in the village of Lochaline, Ardtornish affords a prime location for the development of hydro energy production. Significant investment, supported by the Clydesdale Bank over the past 10 years, has delivered an enterprise with an enviable electrical energy output and strong ecological credentials.

Recent installation of a £2.3m scheme, constituting the Socaich extension to the Estate’s Rannoch Schemes, has brought into use a 275kW Gilkes Turgo impulse turbine and generator. This latest scheme is one of very few in Scotland which takes water from a burn whilst also using a 3km leat to gather and transport water to its turbine house. The water is then introduced back into the river course for further use by two other generators. The elegance and utility of the Rannoch dam arrangement allows the schemes to maximise output from this architecture and ensures that water is properly and safely conducted to the sea.

There are also four other hydro plants at Ardtornish that include an Archimedes screw. Two stored water plants and a run of river scheme at Uilean. The final output of all of the schemes is around 3MW. Additionally, there are two biomass plants, which allow for economic heating of the main house and other outbuildings at Ardtornish.

Tony McInnes, CEO at Ardtornish, said: “The revenue stream from these impressive plants would not have been possible without Clydesdale Bank’s support and the input from its extremely able and enthusiastic team. We are now working on a Land Management strategy to complement our work in hydro generation in the hope that we can improve the land at Ardtornish and develop it sensitively for generations to come. Repairing paths, fences, waterways and other infrastructure allows for joined up thinking in land management and the proper monitoring and protection of these important features at Ardtornish.

“I am privileged to be working with owners (The Raven family) who believe passionately in protecting the heritage of Ardtornish and indeed the wider Lochaber communities and beyond, and who want to make a difference with the revenue being generated.”

Ardtornish is a multi-enterprise business with interests in farming, tourism, events management and the traditional country sports of deer stalking and fishing.

Tony added: “Ardtornish enjoys a location, which provides exceptional opportunity for the development of hydropower generation. Rainfall and water collection opportunities are abundant. With the support of the experts at the Clydesdale Bank in funding our projects, Ardtornish has enjoyed a strong working relationship with the Bank. Clydesdale Bank support has been essential in funding and supporting the projects over the past 10 years.”

Mike Brown, Senior Director at Clydesdale Bank, said: ‘At Clydesdale Bank, we are committed to supporting our customers achieve their growth ambitions. I have worked with the team at Ardtornish for 10 years and it has been an interesting journey. Supporting their energy generation objectives has been mutually beneficial.

“By taking advantage of the natural resources available, Ardtornish is able to produce environmentally clean and sustainable energy. This revenue ensures that other work can be done to improve the enterprise and will help to protect the land for decades to come.”

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