The Ben Mor Hydro scheme at Ben Mor Coigach Wildlife Reserve near Achiltibuie in Ross-shire has received the Best Community Engagement Award in the 2017 Scottish Green Energy Awards.
The ‘run of river’ hydro development is an innovative joint venture between Locogen, Coigach Community Development Company (CCDC) and the Trust. The award demonstrates the success of Locogen’s partnership approach and the value of renewable energy projects to local communities.
The Trust’s Director of Finance & Resources Susan McKenzie said: “Our vision of a sustainable income stream delivered through a micro-hydro scheme was developed over a number of years in partnership with Coigach Community Development Company. The agreement negotiated with Locogen has freed the Trust from future risk and day-to-day management responsibilities, while allowing us to retain a percentage of the future income.
“This income is used locally to support our work within Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape, a unique community partnership led by the Trust, which aims to bring environmental and economic benefits to an area that is blessed with some of the most dramatic and instantly recognisable landscapes in the British Isles, and some of our rarest and most endangered habitats.”
“This is an outstanding example of a six-year project that was started by an exemplar community organisation, striving to develop green energy projects to generate income for the benefit of all, said Ian Muir, Chair of Coigach Community Development Company. “The project was then seen through to its completion by a commercial developer who was as equally driven, building on the strong relationship already established through their previous engagement with the community.
“It’s a fantastic result for us all!”
Andrew Lyle, MD of Locogen, said: “This is a great example of how developers can partner with communities to deliver long-term green energy projects that will provide a secure revenue stream for the local community for over 50 years. The development was exceptionally challenging to deliver within a tight time frame, and everyone involved can be proud that it has now been recognised by the industry as an exemplar community project.”
Construction of the project started in May 2016 and it was commissioned in December 2016. It is predicted to generate 72.5GWh of electricity over its 50-plus years’ operational life, offsetting 39,295 tonnes of CO2 and providing funds of more than £1 million for the local community. These funds will be reinvested in new initiatives which will ensure the ongoing sustainability and enhancement of the local area, including our work within Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape.