An ambitious project which could swell the number of tourists to Pitlochry Dam has been tabled with council planners.
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) wants to create a £ 4million visitor centre at the Highland Perthshire attraction.
The new base will showcase the role played by engineers who brought hydro power to Scotland more than 70 years ago.
An application for planning permission has now been lodged with Perth and Kinross Council.
If approved, the centre, complete with a 60-seat caf, shop and education zone, could be open in autumn next year.
Around 500,000 people already visit the dam and its famous fish ladder on the River Tummel each year.
SSE bosses believe the new attraction could bring an extra 100,000 to the area. Around a dozen full and part-time jobs could also be created.
Gillian O’Reilly, SSE’s Head of Heritage and Community Programmes, said yesterday: “SSE is investing £4m in the state of the art new visitor centre on the opposite side of the river to the archive centre which will tell the history of highland power.
“It will be a major boost to tourism and business in the area and we have been delighted with the feedback from the community since our plans were announced.”
The centre, which will be free to visitors, will unveil the secrets of the annual journey made by salmon as they return to their native Perthshire rivers to spawn.
In August, deputy first minister John Swinney opened SSE’s new archive centre at Pitlochry.
The corporate archive contains documents and artefacts which had otherwise been kept private.
The collection, which is available to view by appointment, is described as a valuable resource for researchers interested in the development of the energy industry in the north of Scotland, as well as the roots of the SSE itself, which dates back to the 19th century.
Much of the material traces the origins of one of SSE’s predecessor organisations, the north of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. Items have been donated by former staff and members of the public.
Council planning officers are considering the visitor centre plans and a decision is likely to be made in the coming weeks.