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Glendoe Hydro Scheme

Glendoe Reservoir
Glendoe Hydro Scheme is located in Scotland
Glendoe Hydro Scheme
Location of Glendoe Reservoir
Official name Glendoe Hydro Scheme
Country United Kingdom
Location Highlands
Opening date 29 June 2009
Owner(s) Scottish and Southern Energy
Dam and spillways
Height 35 m
Length 905 m
Catchment area 15 km² (immediate)
60 km² (artificial)
Max. length 2 km
Normal elevation 630 m
Power station
Installed capacity 100 MW (max. planned)

The Glendoe Hydro Scheme for the generation of hydro-electric power is located near Fort Augustus, above Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland.

The scheme is operated by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and was opened on 29 June 2009 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.[1]


  • Scheme details 1
    • Station shutdown 1.1
  • References 2
  • External links 3

Scheme details

Glendoe's 600 m head (the drop from the reservoir to the turbine) is the highest of any hydro electric scheme in the United Kingdom,[2] and is thus ideally suited to generating large amounts of energy from the stored water in the reservoir, especially when combined with the relatively high annual rainfall in the area of around 2,000 mm. The Andritz six-jet vertical axis Pelton turbine at Glendoe[3] is capable of generating up to 100 MW, with a peak flow of 18.6m³/s.

It is the largest of Scotland's recent civil engineering projects, with Hochtief as the design and build contractor. The scheme is predicted to produce about 180 GWh[4] of electricity per year, enough to provide approximately 5% of the electricity consumption of the city of Glasgow.[5][6] This gives an overall load factor of approximately 20%.

The immediate catchment of 15 km² is supplemented by a further 60 km² connected to the scheme by an underground network of pipes and tunnels, and this is fed into the reservoir on the upper reaches of the River Tarff. The dam, a 905 metre-long concrete-faced rock-filled embankment reaching a height of 35 metres above the valley floor, is hidden from view from all current houses and public roads in the area.[7]

The scheme includes a number of tunnels. An 8.6 km tunnel brings water from diversion intakes to the reservoir. An 8 km long 5m diameter tunnel carries the water to the turbine and out into Loch Ness. This was excavated by a 220m long tunnel boring machine (TBM), that was named "Eliza Jane" after a competition for local schoolchildren.[8] Finally, an access tunnel of 1.3 km in length services the turbine and power station cavern, from the B862 above Fort Augustus.

The power station itself, 2 km from Loch Ness and containing the turbine and generator units, is housed in a large cavern a quarter of a kilometre below the hillside, adjacent to a smaller cavern containing the main transformer.

Station shutdown

In August 2009 the station was shut down and the power tunnel drained because of internal rock falls near the head of the tunnel.[9] Although the equipment in the power station was not affected, Glendoe was unable to generate power until repairs were made. SSE reported that electricity generation was unlikely to proceed until well into 2012.[10] The repairs involved construction of a bypass tunnel and a downstream access tunnel.[11] The contract for the repair work was awarded to BAM Nuttall. SSE are reported to be seeking damages of up to £30 million from Hochtief, who constructed the original tunnel.[12]

Energy generation at the scheme restarted in August 2012.[13]


  1. ^ "Huge hydro-electric scheme opens".  
  2. ^ "Project Overview".  
  3. ^ "Glendoe returns". Water Power Magazine. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "About Glendoe". SSE. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Behind the scenes at hydro scheme".  
  6. ^ ""How much hydro to power Glasgow"". 
  7. ^ "Reservoir and Dam Information".  
  8. ^ "Loch Ness Hydro Tunnel Makes Breakthrough". Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Generation suspended".  
  10. ^ "Glendoe out of action until 2011".  
  11. ^ "Glendoe repair bulletin - Issue 5 - Summer 2011". SSE. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  12. ^ Vass, Steven (23 May 2010). "SSE in £30m dispute over Glendoe tunnel collapse".  
  13. ^ "Glendoe hydro electric scheme resumes operations". BBC. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 

External links

  • SSE Glendoe website
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