SSE has confirmed that it will proceed with construction of the planned 7.5MW Glasa hydroelectric scheme, near Ardross, Ross-shire, Scotland.

The project, previously named Kildermorie1, was consented by Scottish Ministers in 2010 and represents an investment by SSE of around £30m. Construction of the scheme will start in late summer this year and project completion is expected during the autumn of 2015.

The Glasa scheme, once commissioned, will be the largest hydro scheme to be built in the UK in over five years and the second largest conventional hydro scheme to be built in over half a century.

SSE had previously stated that development of new conventional hydro schemes such as Glasa would not be possible at the UK ROC level, which was reduced to 0.7 ROCs per MW following a July 2012 banding review. The new announcement follows the decision by the Scottish Government in September 2012 to retain the one ROC (Renewable Obligation Certificate) per MW support level for new conventional hydro in Scotland.

The workforce on the project will vary, but it is expected that SSE and contractors’ staff will reach over 100 at the peak of construction activities.

As part of its commitment to a local supply chain, SSE said it will work with its key civil and mechanical contractors to ensure opportunities for Highland and Scottish businesses are maximised.

The Glasa announcement comes in the 70th anniversary year of large scale hydro development in Scotland, kick-started by the introduction of the Hydro-Electric Development Act (Scotland) in 1943 and the subsequent development of over 50 dams and power stations, all of which still provide a reliable source of renewable electricity to this day.

SSE is proposing a significantly larger pumped storage hydro scheme, Coire Glas, on Loch Lochy, in the Great Glen. The 600MW scheme is currently awaiting planning consent from Scottish Ministers. SSE believes Coire Glas could offer significant benefits to the UK electricity system in terms of capacity and flexibility, but it will require: a supportive public policy and regulatory framework, including the outcome of the UK Government’s electricity market reform proposals; changes to the transmission charging regime envisaged by Ofgem’s Project TransmiT; and the availability of a timely grid connection date. Until this support is clear, SSE is not able to make an investment decision on Coire Glas.