A new £4 million Pitlochry Dam visitor centre could lead to a flood of tourists and cash for the area, backers claim.
Applicants Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) believe the centre, telling the history of Highland power, will bring more than 100,000 people to the Highland Perthshire town.
Around 50,000 people already visit the dam and fish ladder on the River Tummel each year and SSE hopes its investment will double the amount of tourism.
Free to visitors, the new centre will use state-of-the-art technology to showcase the role played by the engineers who brought hydro power to Scotland more than 70 years ago.
Visitors will also discover the secrets of the annual journey made by salmon as they return to their native Perthshire rivers to spawn.
The centre will open in autumn 2016 and will house a 60-seat cafe, retail area and a multi-space area for educational use.
SSE forecasts it will employ up to 12 people during the tourist season.
John Kellas, the enterprise and infrastructure convener for Perth and Kinross Council, said: “I welcome the news of this investment by SSE in a state-of-the-art visitor centre at Pitlochry Dam.
“The tourism industry is incredibly important to our economy, supporting local jobs and bringing many visitors to Perth and Kinross.
“SSE’s visitor centre is sure to be a fantastic attraction to locals and visitors alike, drawing them to what is already an impressive and popular site.”
Highland Perthshire councillor Ian Campbell said: “It is very satisfying to see this project is now coming to fruition.
“The story to be told, of Scottish hydro development, is one of great pioneers who were developing renewable energy before the phrase became a ‘buzz word’.
“As I drive around Highland Perthshire, the legacy of the hydro board is all around us from small-scale schemes, to houses to large dams and power houses.
“It is great to see the story of this living heritage at last being told in Highland Perthshire.”
SSE chairman Lord Robert Smith said: “Hydro electricity improved the lives of ordinary people living in the north of Scotland and we have a responsibility to preserve and promote the remarkable stories from that time.
“I believe the best way to share these stories, both old and new, is to bring them together under one roof and being a Perthshire company we are proud to be announcing this investment in Pitlochry.”