Raasay hydro project takes shape

Pictured during a visit to the hydro scheme on Tuesday are, Chris Henshaw from Bluenergy, MP Ian Blackford, Raasay development officer Elizabeth MacLeod, Jim Smith MD at SSE Renewables, Chris Nixon from Forestry and Land Scotland, and some of the interested local residents.

Raasay residents went on a site visit this week to the location of a hydro scheme which could generate over £30,000 per year for the island.

Joined by local MP Ian Blackford, islanders got a chance to see the construction progress at the mine buildings after work began in July. The project involves two dams, on the Inverarish and Mine burns, sharing a single turbine house.

Chris Henshaw of Bluenergy, the contractor who will deliver the project, gave a brief overview of the scheme on Tuesday before Mr. Blackford gave a short speech. Mr. Blackford praised the island and the Raasay Community Renewables board for raising the £650,000 necessary to construct the community-owned project, achieved through a community shares offer. Also joining the board were representatives from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme, Forestry and Land Scotland, and Scottish and Southern Energy.

Chris Henshaw from Bluenergy and local MP Ian Blackford discuss the hydro scheme during Tuesday’s site visit.

Jim Smith, managing director at SSE Renewables said: “SSE is proud to have donated £300,000 to the Raasay hydro project. Projects like this are vital to help Scotland’s net zero ambition and will benefit communities for generations to come.”

If you’d like to subscribe to the Free Press, click on the banner above.

Chris Nixon, harvesting delivery forester with Forestry and Land Scotland, added: “Forestry and Land Scotland has worked closely with the community on Raasay throughout the planning and development of their hydro scheme. Through our community asset transfer scheme, we are pleased to have been able to support Raasay Development Trust as they work towards building a sustainable future for the island.”

The energy produced will bring in £2.27 million in gross revenue over its 20-year feed-in tariff guarantee. Profits generated will be used to develop initiatives and opportunities on the island through the creation of a community benefit fund worth in excess of £650,000 over the 20-year period.

Construction and commissioning are to be completed by September 2022.

Article by Michael Russell, images by Willie Urquhart.