The Site

Corriemulzie Burn was chosen for its combination of catchment and head (the drop of altitude over the scheme length). The hydro resource figures are informed by technical assumptions made by two independent hydro consultants, Dulas and Highland Eco Design. The estimated output is 311 MWh per year. The water resource figures are approved and now fully consented by SEPA.

The turbine

The hydro scheme will be a run of river scheme using water from the Corriemulzie Burn and one of its tributaries with an installed capacity of 100 kW. The two intakes will draw water from the river and convey it via a buried pipeline (the penstock) to a powerhouse below the Corriemulzie Falls. The turbine in the powerhouse will generate electricity for export to the national grid. Water will be returned to the river via a short tailrace pipe. The amount of electricity generated at any one time will depend on the flow of the river. A compensation flow, as required by SEPA, will protect the ecology of the river system.

Electricity Sales

The default arrangement is for all the electricity to be exported to the local grid and for the society to receive the market value which comprises a mix of wholesale value plus secured government incentive payments. The feed in tariff payments (FiTs) for our project are locked in at 19.72p per kWh and are index linked to RPI. They are payable for the first 20 years of the scheme.

Presently BCH and The National Trust for Scotland are cooperating on a study into the possibility of selling electricity directly to Mar Lodge Estate to meet their demand. Financial analysis is based on export to the grid as that is the default position.

Capital

The overall cost of the project is currently projected to be £800,000.

The Society intends to raise share capital in two tranches. Firstly this ‘pioneer’ share offer. Secondly a ‘main’ share offer in summer 2015 to complete the funding.

The average shareholding value is in the region of £4,000 and the Society has approximately 200 members. Members’ return is currently forecast at 5% (excluding any tax reliefs), with members’ capital returned by the end of a 20 year period.

Share Offer Successes

The share offer was undertaken in two stages – a pioneer offer in February 2015 and the main offer in the summer of 2015.

The purpose of the pioneer share offer was specifically to raise funds for these costs:

Turbine deposit £10,000
Grid connection final payment £95,000
Design, tendering and contracting £25,000
Other costs incl. main share offer £20,000
   
Total £150,000

 

The pioneer offer was a resounding success with nearly 45 members of the local community and their friends joining up and raising the full £150,000 total within a matter of days of the community launch.

The main share offer to raise the remaining £650,000 was launched in May 2015 and within three months was fully subscribed with an additional 150 Members investing in the hydro society.

The share offers are now therefore fully subscribed and closed to new applications.

Project stages and timeline

The following timeline is indicative only:

Spring 2015 Pioneer share offer carried out. Equipment ordered.
Summer 2015 Main share offer complete. Lease taken up.
Autumn 2015 Installation commences.
Summer 2016 Main installation complete. Connection and testing.
Summer 2016 Project commissioned and generating.

Community Fund

Braemar Community Hydro will create a community fund. In the early years this is expected to be approximately £7,000 per year. Over the life of the project the total community benefit is estimated to be in the region of £500,000. This will be ring fenced for demonstrated community benefit. The fund will be managed by Braemar Community Limited, with the main purpose of furthering the sustainability of the community of Braemar. To date BCL has worked on many diverse projects which have included developing community assets, preserving the natural and built environment, providing recreational facilities and promoting educational experiences for the Braemar community.