SSE Renewables’ Tummel Bridge Power Station near Pitlochry in Scotland is set to see its power output increase from 34MW to 40MW as work commences on a major repowering project.

The project involves replacing the station’s two turbines, which were installed when Tummel Bridge started producing energy in 1933, with modern units. This will help extend the station’s operational life by at least 30 years.

“Tummel Bridge Power Station has operated without any major upgrade work since it opened in 1933 and the two turbines at the heart of the station’s operations are nearly 90 years old,” explained Director of Operations for SSE Renewables, Jerry Williamson. “Replacing the existing machinery and infrastructure is necessary for Tummel Bridge to continue operating for many years to come and the works we’re undertaking will secure local jobs and supply chain opportunities and extend Tummel’s working life to at least 2050.”

Voith Hydro has been appointed as lead Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) contractor for the project, with Voith having previously supported SSE Renewables in 2020 in successfully modernising the second machine of its Foyers pumped storage power station near Inverness, Scotland.

Stantec is leading on Civil Design and has been supporting SSE Renewables on the refurbishment project since Autumn 2018, while Inverness-headquartered Global Infrastructure has been appointed to undertake enabling works including site establishment, superstructure bracing work, and general site readiness. Global Infrastructure’s enabling contract is also expected to support a host of local and UK-based subcontractors.

Global Energy Group at Port of Nigg in Cromarty Firth has been appointed for Forebay Stoplog fabrication and Tailrace Gate modifications, while the contract for Corrosion Protection works on the penstocks, or water intake structures, has been awarded to Rosyth-based KAEFER. The contract to modernise and upgrade the 88-year-old 120 tonne station crane has been awarded to Konecranes Demag UK at East Kilbride. McDonald Scaffolding from Invergordon has been appointed as scaffolding contractor.

The work is expected to take 18 months to complete with most activity contained within the existing building. Power outage at the station began in early April in preparation for the works, with removal of the existing units and foundations expected to start in late spring or early summer.  Concrete (4500 tonnes) will be poured around autumn/winter, with the installation of machinery and electrical equipment scheduled to commence in January 2023. The first turbine is due to be returned to service in mid-summer 2023, with the second to follow in autumn 2023.