Turbine plan a pipe dream for Scottish Water in Fife

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FIFE is being considered as a location for part of a £20 million Scottish Water hydro power scheme.

Thirty sites around the country in areas such as Lanarkshire, the Borders, Stirlingshire, Angus and Fife are being looked at by the water supply company which wants to harness the flow created in its pipes to operate hydro turbine units to generate electricity and protect water treatment plants from power failures.

Those will be whittled down to around 20 and the schemes will make most use of existing Scottish Water buildings and also see the construction of some small buildings and electricity infrastructure to transfer the power from the point of generation back to the water treatment works where it is required.

Ian McMillan, who is leading the building programme for Scottish Water’s Capital Investment and Delivery division, said: “This is a key part of our Climate Change Strategy and will substantially reduce our carbon footprint. We’re very excited about technology that offers the dual benefits of improved service for our customers and reduced operating costs.

“We are working closely with the national park authorities, community councils, power companies and planning officials to make sure these small hydro turbines have minimal effect on the landscape. Some of them will be situated in areas that are very remote so constructing them will require very diligent planning work on our part.”

Mr McMillan added that although £20m is a large investment it would soon pay itself back by allowing Scottish Water to generate its own power and reduce the power costs for water treatment by 10 per cent, playing a key part of keeping the company’s operating costs down.