Glendoe Hydro Scheme

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Glendoe Reservoir
Glendoe Dam.jpg
Glendoe Hydro Scheme is located in Scotland
Glendoe Hydro Scheme
Location of Glendoe Reservoir in Scotland
Official nameGlendoe Hydro Scheme
CountryUnited Kingdom
Coordinates57°05′35″N 4°33′22″W / 57.093°N 4.556°W / 57.093; -4.556Coordinates: 57°05′35″N 4°33′22″W / 57.093°N 4.556°W / 57.093; -4.556
Opening date29 June 2009
Owner(s)Scottish and Southern Energy
Dam and spillways
Height35 m
Length905 m
Catchment area15 km² (immediate)
60 km² (artificial)
Maximum length2 km
Normal elevation630 m
Power Station
Installed capacity100 MW (max. planned)

The Glendoe Hydro Scheme for the generation of hydro-electric power is located near Fort Augustus, above Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland.

The scheme is operated by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and was opened on 29 June 2009 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.[1]

Scheme details[edit]

Glendoe's 600 m head (the drop from the reservoir to the turbine) is the highest of any hydro electric scheme in the United Kingdom,[2] and is thus ideally suited to generating large amounts of energy from the stored water in the reservoir, especially when combined with the relatively high annual rainfall in the area of around 2,000 mm. The Andritz six-jet vertical axis Pelton turbine at Glendoe[3] is capable of generating up to 100 MW, with a peak flow of 18.6m³/s.

It is the largest of Scotland's recent civil engineering projects, with Hochtief as the design and build contractor. The scheme is predicted to produce about 180 GWh[4] of electricity per year, enough to provide approximately 5% of the electricity consumption of the city of Glasgow.[5][6] This gives an overall load factor of approximately 20%.

The immediate catchment of 15 km² is supplemented by a further 60 km² connected to the scheme by an underground network of pipes and tunnels, and this is fed into the reservoir on the upper reaches of the River Tarff. The dam, a 905-metre-long concrete-faced rock-filled embankment reaching a height of 35 metres above the valley floor, is hidden from view from all current houses and public roads in the area.[7]

The scheme includes a number of tunnels. An 8.6 km tunnel brings water from diversion intakes to the reservoir. An 8 km long 5m diameter tunnel carries the water to the turbine and out into Loch Ness. This was excavated by a 220m long tunnel boring machine (TBM), that was named "Eliza Jane" after a competition for local schoolchildren.[8] Finally, an access tunnel of 1.3 km in length services the turbine and power station cavern, from the B862 above Fort Augustus.

The power station itself, 2 km from Loch Ness and containing the turbine and generator units, is housed in a large cavern a quarter of a kilometre below the hillside, adjacent to a smaller cavern containing the main transformer.

Station shutdown[edit]

In August 2009 the station was shut down and the power tunnel drained because of internal rock falls near the head of the tunnel.[9] Although the equipment in the power station was not affected, Glendoe was unable to generate power until repairs were made. SSE reported that electricity generation was unlikely to proceed until well into 2012.[10] The repairs involved construction of a bypass tunnel and a downstream access tunnel.[11] The contract for the repair work was awarded to BAM Nuttall. SSE issued proceedings seeking to recover £130 million in repair and reinstatement costs and £65 million in alleged loss of profit from Hochtief, who constructed the original tunnel, but in a Judgment (Opinion) published in December 2016 Hochtief was held by the Scottish Court of Session not to have been liable for the collapse. In an appeal decided in 2018, SSE were awarded more than £100 million in compensation. The judges hearing the appeal split 2-1 in SSE's favour.[12]

Energy generation at the scheme restarted in August 2012.[13]


  1. ^ "Huge hydro-electric scheme opens". BBC. 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  2. ^ "Project Overview". SSE. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  3. ^ "Glendoe returns". Water Power Magazine. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  4. ^ "About Glendoe". SSE. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Behind the scenes at hydro scheme". BBC. 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  6. ^ "How much hydro to power Glasgow".
  7. ^ "Reservoir and Dam Information". SSE. Archived from the original on October 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  8. ^ "Loch Ness Hydro Tunnel Makes Breakthrough". Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Generation suspended". SSE. Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  10. ^ "Glendoe out of action until 2011". BBC. 2009-11-11. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  11. ^ "Glendoe repair bulletin - Issue 5 - Summer 2011". SSE. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  12. ^ "SSE Generation wins claim over Glendoe tunnel collapse". BBC News Online. 2018-04-10. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  13. ^ "Glendoe hydro electric scheme resumes operations". BBC. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.

External links[edit]