Scottish firms set to benefit from £50m project at ‘iconic’ power station

SSE Renewables

WORK to re-power Perthshire’s ‘iconic’ Tummel Bridge Power Station is to commence next week, SSE Renewables has announced.

The firm has invested £50 million into the upgrade works, which will increase the station’s potential output power from 34 to 40 megawatts.

It added that the re-powering of the station is expected to extend its operation life by ‘at least’ 30 years – meaning it will be running in the power system of 2050 and so will play a continuing role in harnessing hydro power for a net-zero future in Scotland and the UK.

The work will involve replacing the station’s two turbines, which were installed when Tummel Bridge started producing energy in 1933, with modern units. The project is expected to take 18 months to complete with most activity contained within the existing building.

Preparation works will begin in early April, with late spring/early summer seeing the removal of existing units and foundations beginning; 4,500 tonnes of concrete will then be poured in the winter of 2022; with machinery and electrical equipment being installed in January; mid-summer 2023 will see a return to service of the Unit One Turbine, with a return to service of Unit Two commencing in autumn.

SSE Renewables said it expects the delivery of the works programme to help support the Scottish regional supply chain and local job creation, with it adding that up to 65 construction roles will be supported at the project’s peak.

Inverness-headquartered civil engineering and construction firm, Global Infrastructure, will undertake enabling works on the project. This includes site establishment, superstructure bracing work, and general site readiness. SSE Renewables said the firm’s enabling contract is ‘expected’ to support a ‘host’ of local and UK-based subcontractors.

Global Energy Group, of Port of Nigg, has been appointed for Forebay Stoplog fabrication and Tailrace Gate modifications, while the contract for Corrosion Protection works on the penstocks, or water intake structures, has been awarded to Rosyth-based KAEFER.

The contract to modernise and upgrade the 88-year-old, 120-tonne station crane has been awarded to Konecranes Demag UK of East Kilbride. Invergordon-based McDonald Scaffolding has been appointed as scaffolding contractor.

Director of operations at SSE Renewables, Jerry Williamson, said, “Tummel Bridge Power Station has operated without any major upgrade work since it opened in 1933 and the two turbines at the heart of the station’s operations are nearly 90 years old.

“Replacing the existing machinery and infrastructure is necessary for Tummel Bridge to continue operating for many years to come and the works we’re undertaking will secure local jobs and supply chain opportunities and extend Tummel’s working life to at least 2050.

“Whilst we don’t expect any issues we will be working closely with the local communities during the works to minimise any potential disruption and I would like to thank local residents and businesses in advance for their cooperation during this time.

“SSE Renewables has a rich heritage of hydro development in the north of Scotland and I am pleased and proud that Tummel Bridge Power Station will continue to contribute to Scotland and the UK’s net zero targets for many years to come.”