Benefits being reaped from hydro scheme

Bute Estate factor, Bob Baines, with Bute councillors Isobel Strong and Len Scoullar.
Bute Estate factor, Bob Baines, with Bute councillors Isobel Strong and Len Scoullar.

A community hydro scheme in the hills above Colintraive was officially opened on Friday afternoon thanks to Mount Stuart Trust.

The hydro scheme above the village takes water from the Milton Burn via a newly constructed intake built above an existing redundant weir and pushes it through a buried high pressure pipe.

The hydro scheme above the village of Colintraive has been fully operational for a month, using water from Milton Burn to generate electricity which is then fed back into the grid.

The hydro scheme above the village of Colintraive has been fully operational for a month, using water from Milton Burn to generate electricity which is then fed back into the grid.

From there the flow is taken down to a new turbine house where the energy in the water is converted by the Pelton turbine to electricity that feeds directly into the local grid network supplying local households and the wider grid network.

When operating at full power, the scheme will generate enough electricity to power 180 kettles!

The hydro scheme has been designed to minimise any detrimental impact on the landscape and once the vegetation above the pipe has recovered there will be very little visual evidence on the landscape, except the small turbine house that has itself been timber clad and designed and cited for minimal landscape impact to blend into its surroundings.

The water which is used to generate the power is unaffected by the process, and is returned clean and fresh to the Milton burn. The water can be seen returning to the burn from a pre-existing viewing platform from the Trust owned community garden both managed and maintained by the community to enjoy this natural water feature.

Argyll and Bute MP Michael Russell and Bute Estate Factor, Bob Baines, present the convener of Colglen Community Council, Cathleen Russell, with the first community cheque raised from the hydro scheme.

Argyll and Bute MP Michael Russell and Bute Estate Factor, Bob Baines, present the convener of Colglen Community Council, Cathleen Russell, with the first community cheque raised from the hydro scheme.

As well as the supply of green electricity into the local network, Mount Stuart Trust has committed a significant contribution from the financial return on its investment to the village community of Colintraive which will be distributed by its community council.

A cheque for £3,500 - the first funds to be distributed from the scheme - was presented to Colglen Community Council convener, Cathleen Russell, by Argyll and Bute MSP - and Cathleen’s husband! - Michael Russell.

Bob Baines, Factor for the Mount Stuart Trust, said: “These green projects by the Trust are a great example of how green technology can be genuinely sustainable with clear benefits for carbon reduction as well as the local community without there being a detrimental impact on this beautiful landscape and its tourism economy.

“The opening of the Colintraive scheme is a key milestone for the Trust which will provide valuable income in support of its work as a charitable trust, as well as supporting community led projects at Colintraive.”

A snapshot of the Kyles of Bute as seen from the hills above Colintraive during our visit to the hydro scheme site on Friday.

A snapshot of the Kyles of Bute as seen from the hills above Colintraive during our visit to the hydro scheme site on Friday.