Hydro schemes approved
Four hydro schemes near Loch Lomond that can supply enough electricity for 4,100 homes have been approved by the Scottish Government.
The schemes, all on the Glen Falloch Estate near Crianlarich, will create up to 50 jobs in construction and will result in investment back into the Estate.
Energy Minister Jim Mather said:
"Scotland has an untapped potential for smaller hydro schemes which can create green energy and tackle climate change - these four schemes are perfect examples of how we can make the best use of our natural resources to create low carbon jobs.
"The four hydro schemes will bring substantial local economic benefit - up to 50 jobs will be created during construction and local businesses will benefit from an increase in trade. I also welcome the fact that rental income from the hydro schemes will be re-invested back into the operations of the Glen Falloch Estate.
"In line with the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Plan, these developments will enable the Park to promote the increased use of energy from renewable sources and will provide a welcome employment boost."
In July 2009, Osspower Ltd submitted applications for consent to construct and operate four hydro electric stations at Glen Falloch Estate near Crianlarich, with a combined generating capacity of 6.7 Megawatts (MW). These are: Allt Fionn (2.1 MW); Ben Glas (1.6 MW); Derrydarroch (2 MW); Upper Falloch (1 MW).
The site lies around 5 kilometres to the north of Loch Lomond and around 6 kilometres southwest of Crianlarich and is entirely within the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
Following consultation, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, as the Planning Authority, raised no objections to the applications subject to a number of conditions.
The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) supported the application subject to the imposition of conditions in order to protect the water environment.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) had no objections subject to conditions relating to European Protected Species, peat slide risk and breeding birds. SNH also advised that an Appropriate Assessment was required to be undertaken for the Allt Fionn proposal given its proximity to the Loch Lomond Woods Special Area of Conservation.
No stakeholder or public objections were received for the proposals.
The Scottish Government's target is to meet 50 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2020. In 2008, 22 per cent of electricity demand came from renewables. There is around 7 Gigawatts (GW) of renewables capacity installed, under construction or consented around Scotland, which will take Scotland beyond the interim target of 31 per cent of Scotland's electricity demand from renewables by 2011.
The Scottish Government's Energy Consents and Deployment Unit is currently processing 32 applications (23 onshore wind, 8 hydro and one thermal), amounting to 3 GW.
The Scottish Government has already determined 41 energy applications, including approval for 34 renewable and two non-renewable projects since May 2007 - more than double the number of determinations than over the whole of the previous four years, in which 19 projects were determined.