Hydro-electric Schemes in Fife

The Scottish Government’s target of producing all of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020 is ambitious but it can be met — and for the sake of future generations, I believe it must be.

In Fife, we may not have the scope for large-scale hydro-electric generation, but our terrain is amply suited to “run-of-river” schemes, which work by diverting river water from the flow upstream, running it through a turbine and returning it to the water-course further down.

Recently, I submitted a formal question in Parliament to ascertain if there are any incentives in place to encourage hydro-electric schemes in West Fife, with a target answer date set for later this month. Such schemes create skilled local employment opportunities and have little detrimental impact on the physical environment.  Unlike intermittent wind turbines, such generation is reliable, depending only on steady river flow.

We have many modest-sized rivers in West Fife with the potential for run-of-river electricity generation.  A pre-feasibility study has already been carried out, for example, on the Bluther Burn in the Valleyfield Woodland Park. Such a scheme could produce hundreds of kWs for the National Grid and could even help finance local projects such as caring for the Woodland itself.

The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.

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