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Approval for Hydro Scheme

A new hydro scheme near Strathcarron that will power 2,000 homes has been approved. The 3.5 Megawatt Chonais scheme in the North West Highlands will create 30 jobs during the construction phase.

Energy Minister Jim Mather said: "New renewable energy developments, large and small, have a key role to play in Scotland's economic recovery. The Chonais hydro scheme will see up to 30 new construction jobs coming to a community of around 900 and is exactly the type of project we want to encourage.

"Working in harmony with the environment, the scheme will generate clean, green energy, reduce emissions and create economic benefits for Strathcarron - a model of the low carbon opportunities that exist the length and breadth of Scotland.

"We will continue to support sustainable hydro power developments to tackle climate change and help increase sustainable economic growth."

In April 2007, SSE Generation Ltd applied for consent to construct and operate a hydro electric station with a generating capacity of up to 3.5 Megawatts. The main intake will be located on the Allt a'Chonais and will be known as the Chonais hydroelectric scheme.

Three representations were received during the consultation. Highland Council supported the application subject to a number of conditions. Scottish Natural Heritage did not object to the application, subject to conditions relating to ecological, landscape and recreational interests. The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency supported the application subject to conditions relating to the water environment.

The Scottish Government's Energy Consents and Deployment Unit is currently processing 29 renewable project applications - 24 wind farms and five hydro projects.

The Scottish Government has determined 26 energy applications, including approval for 20 renewable and one non-renewable project since May 2007 - more determinations than over the whole of the previous four years, in which 19 projects were determined. New applications are being dealt with in line with the Scottish Government's new target to come to a decision within nine months, where there is no public inquiry.

Scottish Government targets are to meet 50 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2020, and an interim target of 31 per cent by 2011.

Posted 12/03/09

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