Sunart Community Hydro Official Launch
Congratulations to Sunart Community Renewables! The 100kW hydro project was officially launched on Saturday 28th November. MSP Dave Thompson cut the ribbon for the project, see the pictures here https://twitter.com/communityhydro
In March 2011 the Sunart Community Company identified Allt nan Cailleach burn, Strontian as a possible hydro project. The burn included a Scottish water redundant dam, so there was, at one point, resource there. A public meeting was held and a steering group was established to take this project forward.
After a successful loan application to CARES, SCC got the project underway by appointing consultants and using the loan to cover development costs such as feasibility, consents, grid deposit and project management. As SCC were looking to developed Scottish Water redundant asset, they had to go through the Community Right to Buy process to purchase the dam. With the site being a Common Grazings there were also negotiations with SGRPID and the Common Grazings; an agreement is now in place.
While developing the project SCC kept the community up to date and were working to develop a community development plan; an essential tool to identify how the community would like hydro income to be spent.
The project was pre-registered for Feed In Tariffs in November 2013 – to secure this rate SCC needed to have the hydro commissioned within 2 years to the date of pre-registration. It was at this point that SCC appointed Project Managers to take the project through financing, construction and commissioning.
A Community Benefit Society, Sunart Community Renewables, was established to raise finance, primarily through a share offer. The project cost £850,000; £753,300 of this was raised through a share offer and the balance through a commercial loan. The hydro was commissioned in October and has been making the most of the West Highland winter weather.
The 100kW hydro project was officially launched on Saturday 28th November.