The UK’s largest community hydroelectric project, which has been supported by the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), has officially opened.

The hydro project, which is situated on the Barr River in Lochaber, is the UK’s largest community hydro scheme at 1.6MW. It is owned by Morvern Community Development Company which will reinvest the profits into local priorities. The project also contributes to Scotland’s ambition to reach a just transition to net zero emissions by 2045 by helping to deliver more renewable energy in a fair way.

The Barr River hydroelect

CARES, which is managed by Local Energy Scotland, has supported Morven Community Development Company to develop the hydro project since c.2013.

The hydroelectric scheme was commissioned in July 2021 and is now generating electricity to sell to the national grid. It is expected to generate around 4,269,000 kWh each year – enough energy to power 1,000 homes – and to operate for at least 50 years.

Local Energy Scotland’s energy specialists and local development officers have provided extensive project support to the hydro’s project team since its inception. The project has also benefited from the financial support of CARES loans, with over £250,000 available to develop the project from feasibility through to it securing commercial funding.

This is a great example of a community energy project that will make a real and positive difference to local people, who will soon benefit from the profits that will be reinvested back into their community.

This project has been a huge amount of work for everyone involved. This makes it incredibly satisfying to see the project successfully operating and now providing electricity to the national grid.

Chris Morris, Local Energy Scotland CARES manager

For more information on Barr Hydro, visit the Morvern Community Development Company website.