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Knoydart Renewables Dam Improvement Works - Visitor Information

9 Jul 2015

We recently posted information regarding the Knoydart Renewables Dam Improvement Project, and would now like to provide further info on the project itself and impact this will have on power supply in Inverie over August and September. Below we have compiled some useful information for visitors, provided by Knoydart Renewables and Knoydart Foundation.


Why is the Dam Improvement Project Necessary?

  • The pipe that runs through the dam is the original, installed in the 1970’s and is in poor condition

  • The pipe running through the dam is of a smaller diameter than the pipe lower down. This is a likely constriction which could affect how much power we can generate.

  • At the moment, if we need to manage water levels, or do any works around the intake, the current working arrangements aren’t fit for purpose. We cannot control the release of water and we cannot work around the pipe inlet. As a reservoir manager, we don’t feel this is an acceptable situation to be in


What will the project achieve?

  • Improved security of our electricity supply (works will have a 40 year lifespan)

  • Increased generation capacity, thus giving us more electricity to sell – this will allow us to develop a strategy for increasing future sales and to ensure we can meet new requests. In turn this will increase our income which can be reinvested back in the hydro

  • Improved control at the dam

  • Improved compliance with best practise


The Project Itself.

Wallace Stone are the consulting engineers and will supervise the works on site and we are using NRS contractors to implement the works. NRS are employing some local workers in addition to their own team. During the week they will live up at the dam in accommodation units designed and built on Knoydart. The contractor will be using Long Beach as a storage area for materials and other activity.


The first activity is to reduce water levels in the loch. In order to do this we have to have environmental controls in place to minimise excess sediment finding its way in to Inverie River. The materials for the controls will be flown up with the first helicopter lift. Once the controls are in place, the scour pipe will be opened to allow water to escape but we will continue to be running on hydro. We will monitor how fast water levels are reducing – if they don’t reduce by 25cm a day then we will have to consider opening up the hydro pipe which will mean going on to diesel generator, possibly sooner than the 1st August. The contractor aims to start mobilisation on or around the 23rd July – these dates will be confirmed.


The works are likely to take around 7 weeks – however, how quickly we can get back on to hydro will be weather dependent as the loch will need to refill before we can start operating.


What Is The Impact On Me?

Works will  impact  all our customers and visitors to Knoydart in August/September 2015 – unlike the big electricity companies we do not have a second hydro so our back up is a diesel generator. During the works period, we will run on diesel generator providing power between the hours of 7am and 11pm. It is not practical or affordable to run the generator overnight so everyone will be without power from 11pm to 7am – so bring your torches! We find that many people enjoy the switch off and get used to managing without power for a short period of time – so we hope it will make your holiday one to remember! 


What Can I Do To Help?

Ultimately, this scheme is about contributing to the security of the future of the community owned electricity supply on Knoydart – so we thank you for your patience and understanding. If you wish to make a donation we would be very happy to receive it as that will reduce the amount of loan we need.


On a very practical issue, you can all help with managing the diesel generator. When the diesel genny is switched off, please make sure you switch off any items such as heaters, electric cookers or other high use items (but NOT items such as fridges). This helps when we come to switch on the genny in the morning – if there are too many appliances left on, we can struggle to get the genny on in the morning.


During the works we are hoping to run a guided walk up to the dam and we will be posting pictures on the Knoydart Renewables Facebook page so you can see what’s happening.


The proposed works are essential to protect our power supply in to the future – we thank you for your patience and cooperation whilst this project is under way.


Thank you. 




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