Future of hydro industry to be formulated in Perth

© DC Thomson
Pitlochry Dam.

Key players in the hydro industry will plot the fight to maintain the industry at the heart of Scotland’s energy system at a major event in Perth.

Against a backdrop of fears for future projects, the Securing Hydro’s Future: From the Glens to the Grid conference in Perth Concert Hall on June 6 will be one of the industry’s largest gatherings.

Hannah Smith, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland’s hydro power sector has a long and proud history.

“The large post-war schemes, known as the Power from the Glens projects, have provided us with long lasting and reliable sources of clean energy.

“Newer developments have allowed rural communities and businesses to take control of their own energy generation using locally-available natural resources.

“Scottish Renewables annual hydro conference provides the sector with a valuable opportunity to discuss the future of this popular renewable energy technology and explore ways to protect the 12,500 jobs it supports in Scotland today.

“With changes in UK Government support and increases in business rates, this is a critical time for the industry.”

Perth-based Green Highland Renewables are one of the most active hydro developers and CEO Mark Mathieson has previously warned that as many as 80% of hydro jobs could be lost in the next few years.

“There has certainly been a lot of change in the sector, through the reduction in the Feed-in Tariff and the recent business rates review, and looking ahead there will continue to be fluidity with potential changes to the transmission charging regime,” he said.

“However, we still believe that the fundamentals of hydro and its contribution in the market remain strong — hydro energy has good public support and can produce competitive subsidy-free energy for many decades ahead.

“We believe there is still potential to build well-constructed, financed and engineered run of river schemes here in Scotland, and the conference will give us all an opportunity to engage with governments and regulators to take a look at what can be done to increase investor confidence.”

Perthshire has a long history of using hydro power including at Pitlochry, Stanley Mills Hydro Station, SSE’s Lednock scheme near Comrie and the Dalchonzie scheme at St Fillans.