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Glendoe Hydro Electric Scheme

Client: Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE)

Contractors Designers: Poyry Energy JV Ltd (Formerly Electrowatt Ekono)

Form of Contract: NEC, Second Edition - Option A

Dates work carried out: 2006 – 2009

Value: £145,000,000

The new power station will produce around 180 million units of green electricity in a year of average rainfall and the capacity to power almost 250,000 homes. When synchronised, it will be able to start generating electricity at full capacity in 30 seconds.

Up to 400 jobs will be created during the construction phase and the power station is expected to be generating electricity commercially from the winter of 2008/09. The scheme involves collecting water from around 75 square kilometres – either directly or via 8km of underground tunnels – in a new reservoir over 600 metres above Loch Ness.

The drop from the reservoir to the turbine at the side of the loch – the ‘head’ – is, at over 600 metres, the biggest of any hydro station in the UK. The efficiency of a hydro station increases with the size of the head, making Glendoe the most efficient scheme in the country.

The new reservoir will be situated at the head of Glen Tarff and will be impounded by a dam approximately 1km long, making it the longest dam in Scottish and Southern Energy’s portfolio. The dam will be shaped to suit the topography and geology of the area and will be 35m at its highest point.

HOCHTIEF transported a giant tunnelling machine to the Great Glen for use on Scottish and Southern Energy’s £140m Hydro Electric Project at Glendoe. Local children from Kilchuimein School were asked to name the TBM and the winning name was “Eliza Jane”.

The unit will be used to create an 8km tunnel in the hills as part of the scheme, which will involve the creation of extensive access tracks, pipelines, intake structures, tunnels, a 1km long concrete faced rock filled dam, reservoir and an underground power cavern containing the generating plant.

The progress will depend on rock conditions but she should be able to get through somewhere in the region of 20 metres of finished tunnel a day.