In response to Scottish Power's recent announcement that they will be carrying out a feasibility study with a view to potentially doubling the output of their Cruachan hydro-electric power station in Argyll, the Scottish Government has said the country could be"on the verge of a new generation of hydro power" which could"rival the revolution in the glens" that saw electricity taken to the Highlands in the 1950s.
Those comments follow the Scottish Government's recent backing of a proposed new 600MW hydro-electric scheme by SSE at Coire Glas, near Spean Bridge. The Scottish Government's support of large hydro-electric projects was also evident in 2012 when the Scottish Government opted to retain the level of support for hydro projects available through the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) mechanism at one ROC per MWh, rather than following the rest of the UK and reducing the level of support to 0.7ROCs per MWh.
The Scottish Government is evidently keen to ensure that large hydro-electric schemes form part of the technology mix producing electricity in Scotland. However, if the Scottish Government's challenging renewable energy targets are to be met, the continued development of smaller scale hydro-electric schemes, which benefit from support through the Feed in tarriff scheme, will also require to form part of the"new generation" of hydro power.