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Small hydropower project approved in Scotland

The Scottish Government has approved a small hydropower project to be developed by RWE npower renewables in Scotland.

The 3-MW Cia-Aig hydro project, to be located near Achnacarry in Inverness-shire, will employ up to 20 people during construction and will provide local community benefits, the Scottish Government reported. The hydro scheme will be powered by the Abhainn Chia-aig River.

Energy Minister Jim Mather said: “The Cia-Aig scheme is another good example of Scotland’s potential for smaller hydro schemes, which generate green energy and cut emissions. The scheme will provide up to 20 low carbon jobs during construction, and the developer will provide a community fund for long lasting benefits for the area. Viable hydro schemes that make the best use of our natural resources have a future in a low carbon Scotland.”

Construction on the Cia-Aig hydro scheme is expected to begin in 2011 and will take around 18 months to complete.

The Scottish Government's target is to meet 50 percent of electricity demand from renewables by 2020. In 2008, 22 percent of electricity demand came from renewables.

Recently, four small hydro projects near Loch Lomond with a combined generating capacity of 6.7 megawatts were approved by the Scottish Government. The project site lies north of Loch Lomond and is entirely within the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, local media reports indicate.

A workshop on innovative small hydropower technology is planned as part of the activities offered ahead of the upcoming HydroVision 2010 event in North Carolina. The small hydro workshop, planned for July 27, will highlight selected technologies that have the potential to significantly change the way small hydropower is being developed worldwide.

In Scotland, there are around 7 gigawatts of renewables capacity installed, under construction or consented, which will take Scotland beyond the interim target of 31 percent of electricity demand from renewables by 2011.

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