Construction on the Cia Aig scheme is expected to begin in 2011 and will take around 18 months to complete. The development will consist of a partially buried powerhouse and 3.5km buried pipeline, helping the scheme integrate into the surrounding area.

Once operating, the scheme will only run when sufficient water is present in the river and return all of the water used for generation upstream of the Cia Aig falls.

RWE npower renewables applied for consent to construct and operate the run-of-river hydroelectric scheme in September 2009. RWE npower renewables developer, Alasdair MacNiven said: “We are pleased that this project has been granted consent promptly and with the support of the Highland Council and SEPA. The local communities of Achnacarry, Bunarkaig and Clunes also played an important role throughout this process, feeding comments directly into the design proposals. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the community, the Forestry Commission and Loch Eile Estate as we progress the construction and operation of the scheme.

Construction on another Highland hydro scheme, Black Rock in Ross-shire, has recently commenced and once completed will generate a further 3.5MW. RWE npower renewables currently has 12 hydro schemes operating throughout Scotland, generating more than 19MW.