Hydroelectric generator which doubles up as visitor attraction opens in Inverness

Director of sport and leisure at High Life Highland, Douglas Wilby, at the Hydro Ness site

A hydroelectric generator on the banks of the River Ness is now fully operational in Inverness.

Known as the Hydro Ness, the 92 kilowatt archimedes screw hydroelectric scheme doubles up as an interactive visitor experience which will use video content to detail the history of hydro power in the Highlands.

The Highland Council said that it will generate over 500,000 KWh of renewable energy each year, which will power ‘roughly half’ of the nearby Inverness Leisure Centre’s electricity demand.

As water from the ‘powerful’ River Ness flows into the Hydro, it will pass through spiral blades forcing the screw to turn. Energy generated from the movement will be converted into electricity.

Leader of the Highland Council, councillor Raymond Bremner, said, “I am delighted to see the turbines operational. The project team have been thorough in their monitoring of the scheme, and it is really exciting to be up and running.

“The river levels, in accordance with SEPA guidelines, will dictate when the turbines are operational, but it is fantastic to know we are now generating renewable electricity to help power Inverness Leisure. Electricity prices are increasing rapidly, and this project, and others like it, are vital in mitigating against market increases to help ensure the council, and our partners, continue to offer first-class services to the public.”

Director of sport and leisure at High Life Highland, Douglas Wilby, added, “This is a great milestone for what was a hugely ambitious project. Inverness Leisure is a unique building in its operation and offering; it caters for over 800,000 customer visits annually and we are an organisation that is determined to try and minimise our footprint whilst ensuring we continue to provide a vital function for the community.

“Hydro Ness is a project that helps us do that and it is very exciting to benefit from the electricity generated just a few hundred meetings from the building.”