Once installed, the scheme is expected to have a 1.6MW capacity and to generate approximately 4,269,000 kWh each year – enough to power over 1000 homes*. It will take approximately 14 months to build and is expected to operate for at least 50 years.
The community has been exploring the potential for a shared-ownership hydropower scheme since 2013. Now this new finance will help with the construction and operation of the hydropower scheme by MorVolts Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Morvern Community Development Company (MCDC), a registered charity that aims to benefit the community of Morvern.
Jane Stuart-Smith, Chair of the Morvern Community Development Company, said: “We are delighted to have reached financial close and can now begin building the scheme. Getting to this point has taken a huge investment of local volunteer effort sustained over many years.
“Morvern is a delightful place to live and work but it faces challenges to maintain a sustainable community in a remote rural community location. MCDC has a strong track record in creating and delivering local infrastructure projects. The income from the scheme will be an important source of investment into the local development priorities. There is an increasing focus on community involvement in energy networks. The scheme also gives the Morvern community a strategic stake in the energy supply on the peninsular.”
£6.49 million of funding has been secured in total for the project, made up of a £4.26 million Triodos Bank loan and £2.23m from the Energy Investment Fund, which is administered by the Scottish Investment Bank on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: “I am pleased that Morvern Community Development Company’s MorVolts Barr Hydro scheme has reached financial close. Morvern are a fantastic example of what an empowered community can achieve, with a great track record in project delivery and actively engaged in planning for their future.
“The Scottish Government through our Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) delivered by Local Energy Scotland, has been assisting Morvern since 2014, providing both advice and funding support and I am pleased our Scottish Investment Bank has been able to contribute £2.23 million through the Energy Investment Fund to make it happen.
“At 1.6 MW, the scheme is, I understand, the largest hydro in the UK to be entirely community-owned and that is a tremendous achievement for Morvern. I am also really delighted that all profits from the project will be channelled back into the community to support local priorities and, I am sure, this will make a real and positive difference to the lives of local people and this is why we are keen to see more projects such as this.”
MCDC are committed to managing community assets for the benefit of local people and the wider public. They aim to help provide recreational facilities and activities, to advance community development and to enable the area’s environment, culture, heritage and history to flourish.
Philip Bazin, environment manager at Triodos Bank UK, said: “This is a great example of a community energy project – bringing people and organisations together to do something for both people and planet. It is encouraging to have success stories like this right now of people coming together to overcome the challenges brought about by the current crisis.”
Many different groups have come together to make this work, including the Scottish Government, Scottish Investment Bank and Forestry Land Scotland.
Kerry Sharp, Director, Scottish Investment Bank, said: “Scotland has been harnessing the power of water through hydro-electric schemes for more than one hundred years, particularly in the Highlands where hydro has been crucial in connecting remote rural communities to the grid.
“As well as being a big part of Scotland’s energy past, the support for the Barr River project proves that hydropower can be a major part of Scotland’s energy future. We’re genuinely excited to help MCDC continue to capitalise on Morvern’s natural and built environment for the benefit of the local community.”
Images available upon request.
*Homes equivalent calculation based on an annual average domestic household consumption of 4,200 kWh.
For further information please contact:
- T: 0117 311 0241
Notes to editor
About the Scottish Investment Bank
The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is the investment arm of Scotland’s national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
SIB’s activities support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to growth capital and loan funding. It helps ambitious Scottish companies get the right level of funding from the right sources at the right time, through building relationships with both domestic and international investors.
SIB manages a suite of co-investment funds including the Scottish Co-Investment Fund, the Scottish Venture Fund and the Energy Investment Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. SIB is also an investor in Epidarex Capital’s Life Sciences Fund and administers the Scottish Loan Scheme, with funding secured from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Growth Scheme.
Furthermore, SIB provides funding into LendingCrowd, Scotland’s marketplace lender providing loans to SMEs, and Maven’s Regional Buyout Fund (MBO) that offers financial support for management buyouts (MBOs) and helps existing management teams acquire businesses from their owners so they can continue to flourish.
SIB’s team of financial readiness specialists help companies prepare for new investment and access appropriate finance.
About Triodos Bank
Founded in 1980, Triodos Bank has become a frontrunner in sustainable banking globally. As an independent bank that promotes responsible and transparent banking, it does not see any conflict between a focus on people and the planet and a good financial return. Instead it believes that they reinforce each other in the long-term.
Triodos Bank has banking activities in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Spain, Germany and France as well as Investment Management activities based in the Netherlands but active globally. Triodos Bank co-founded the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a network of 54 sustainable banks. Together these banks want to grow sustainable banking and its impact on the real economy substantially.
Triodos Bank UK Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Triodos Bank NV. Registered Office: Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AS. Registered in England and Wales Company No. 11379025. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 817008. VAT reg no 793493383.