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In collaboration with vento ludens Ltd., Koehler commissioned two new small-scale hydroelectric power plants in Scotland.
orking with vento ludens Ltd., we successfully completed and commissioned two new small-scale hydroelectric power projects in September 2017 (Kelburn and Ledard). The two small-scale systems each boast a nominal output of 100 kW, which will feed approximately 340 and 420 MWh of electricity into the Scottish grid each year.
Technically speaking, these are run-of-the-river systems, in which part of the river water is channeled through a water turbine, converting the potential energy of the water into a mechanical rotation, which powers a generator. The kinetic energy of the water is thus first converted into mechanical energy in the turbine and then into electrical energy in the generator.
To increase the drop height of the water and compensate for seasonal fluctuations, the river water is dammed by means of a small weir system, with the water level in the created reservoir kept constant during operation. The power plant’s installed capacity and energy capability are determined by the flow rate and drop height, which represents the difference in height between the higher water and the lower water.
Apart from potential seasonal fluctuations, run-of-the-river systems generate a very consistent supply of electricity around the clock and are therefore used as a base load. Their efficiency levels of 80 to 90% also make them highly efficient. The technology used requires very little maintenance, making the operating costs much lower than with other power plants. If regularly serviced, the technology has an extremely long service life.
The Koehler Group has been operating small-scale hydroelectric power plants in Germany for more than 100 years. There’s also no incineration involved, so no pollutants or greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are released, making run-of-the-river systems very eco-friendly in terms of emissions. How much water can be extracted and how the impact on nature caused by the construction work and the visibility of the plant can be minimized were determined with great attention to detail before and during construction with a variety of authorities and organizations such as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Natural Heritage (now called NatureScot), and local planning authorities.
The Kelburn and Ledard projects are part of a larger portfolio that includes four more projects currently under contruction, with nominal outputs ranging from 500 kW to 1.1-MW. Approval for the other projects was be granted in 2018, with construction scheduled for completion in December 2020 and March 2021.