|The largest community owned hydro scheme on the UK|
|2 x 250kW Francis turbines|
In 2012, the Rumbling Bridge hydro project, a 500kW run-of-river scheme was initiated by Hugh Wallace, a local social entrepenuer who runs a local renewable energy business called Glendevon Energy in rural Kinross-shire. Glendevon Energy applied for a CARES grant from the Scottish Government which is open to small rural businesses as well as community groups. After several years of developmnt and having drawn down the maximum loan available from the CARES scheme, the project was still not ready for financial close. The lease agreements with 13 landowners still had to be negotiated and the project had to be professionally designed, so Hugh turned to Energy Prospects (EP), a community development co-op, to complete the development work. A cooperation agreement between EP, Energy4All (with support from RESCoop MESICE) and Glendevon ensured that if EP paid for the remaining development costs and the project reached financial close, then a new Community Benefit Society would own the hydro scheme and raise capital with a community share offer. In September 2015 financial close was reached The FiT for the project was guaranteed until September 18th 2016, after which it would revert to a lower level. The Board, which included Hugh and other local residents as well as members from Energy4All decided to go ahead and the civil works started in December 2015. The weather hampered the construction process durin the winter months and there was more rock excavation than expected, however the project came in on time and to budget. Crucially the turbine was connected to the grid just 10 days before the FiT deadline. However the turbines did have teething troubles and had to be shut down soon after because of vibration issues in one of the turbines. Thanks to some very hard work by the contractors, it was up and running in time for Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Energy Minister to formally open the project in November 2016. So far the output from the turbine has exceeded the projected output, so the local community stands to earn a considerable community benefit from the scheme over the projected 40 years of operation.