In September 2016, Argyll and Bute Council consented innogy Renewables UK Ltd’s Glen Noe Hydro Scheme via delegated powers. The 2 MW run-of-river hydroelectric scheme consists of three intakes, approximately 2.8 km of buried pipeline and a powerhouse with tailrace. The site is located within the Glen Noe Estate, near Loch Etive and approximately 5 km north east of Taynuilt.
In addition to being affected by a catchment transfer of water to Cruachan Pumped Storage Power Station, the project team had to overcome a number of complex issues associated with it, namely the site:
- Is located within a Special Protection Area, designated for golden eagle;
- Is also located within an area of wildland; and
- Has a number of ecological sensitivities, including a Site of Special Scientific Interest and nationally significant bryophyte species.
Arcus led the EIA team, and undertook technical assessments for a number of areas, including ecology; landscape character and visual assessment; hydrology and hydro-geomorphology; cultural heritage and archaeology; noise; and traffic and transport. The project team assembled by Arcus also included a number of external specialists including EcoFish (fish specialists), Gordon Rothero (bryophytes), Paul Haworth (golden eagle) and Andy Acton (lichens). The design was completed by MWH who worked closely with Arcus throughout the design process.
The design of the scheme was critical to ensure that a development of this scale could be accommodated within such a sensitive location whilst minimising environmental impacts. This involved early and detailed engagement with consultees, which was acknowledged by SNH in their consultation response to the planning application.
The visualisation below shows the existing and proposed view of the River Noe intake, which incorporates a footbridge:
Andrew Logie, innogy’s Hydro UK Development Manager, provided the following feedback regarding Arcus’ involvement in the project:
“Given the environmental sensitivities of the site, it was important to engage well with the regulators and designers from the outset, with early input shaping the design of the scheme. Arcus worked particularly well with SNH and with the design team in developing what should be an exemplary renewables project sensitively located within this special place”.