Scotland's £3.5 million ($5.5 million) hydro power plant project, Merk Hydro, began operations after connecting to the national grid to supply enough power for over 800 homes per year, the government announced Monday.
The plant, located in Argyll, in the southwestern part of the country, is expected to generate around 3.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year.
The project, developed by four partners, MEG Renewables, Richard Grubb & family, CRF Hydro Power Ltd and Here We Are/Our Hydro Ltd., is part of a community-based project designed to allow locals to benefit from renewable energy initiatives.
The government is acting to increase local communities’ involvement in the approval and planning stages of renewable energy projects and ensure communities which will potentially be affected by a project in their area also enjoy the financial returns generated.
In that respect, Swinney said, “Merk Hydro, which has been driven forward in part by the local community, is a prime example of a community working with the renewables industry – where all stakeholders stand to benefit from greater partnership working in bringing forward renewable energy projects."
Speaking on Scotland's approach to energy politics, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said that the Scottish government was defining a distinctive approach by "putting communities at the heart of decisions about their local energy system – and empowering them to take an economic stake in new developments."
The government believes this approach offers the country the opportunity to have improved community empowerment, a leading and respected renewable energy industry as well as increased local economic and social benefits.
By Zeynep Beyza Karabay