THE award-winning Hydro Ness hydroelectric scheme and visitor attraction has officially opened in Inverness.
Found on the banks of the River Ness, Hydro Ness utilises historical infrastructure from a disused hydro scheme dating back to the 1920s to generate electricity for the nearby Inverness Leisure Centre.
It doubles up as a visitor attraction, with it featuring ‘high quality and completely bespoke’ interpretive content designed by Mather & Co. It includes ‘articulate key messages’ relating to topics including environment and ecology, renewable energy, and climate change.
Michael Matheson, Scottish cabinet secretary for net zero, economy, and transport, officially opened the facility. The ceremony featured a performance of a specially commissioned song, The Power of the River, which was written and produced by local artists, Hamish Napier and Duncan Chrisholm, and performed by Ceilidh Trail to celebrate Hydro Ness.
Michael Matheson said, “Scotland has the resources, the people and the ambition to deliver on our net zero targets – for the benefit of communities up and down the country and beyond. The Hydro Ness is a perfect example of how small-scale hydroelectric schemes can deliver a big and lasting impact. The scheme is not only an important step in the journey for Inverness becoming carbon neutral, but also in supporting a fair and just energy transition which benefits everyone.”
Councillor Karl Rosie, chair of The Highland Council’s climate change committee, added, “Hydro Ness is without doubt a flagship for sustainability and has reinforced how valuable an asset the River Ness is, especially when it comes to renewable generation. Not only does it look fantastic but very importantly, it is already helping to offset our reliance on grid supplied electricity and reducing our carbon footprint. This underlines our climate change ambitions as we work towards achieving net zero.
“As well as the eye-catching structure, an important element of Hydro Ness is the on-site interpretation. The messaging covers key topics such as how Hydro Ness works, the different ecology found around the River Ness, and our changing climate. All of which will help to create a new welcoming place for locals and visitors to spend time enjoying.”