Duchally

  • Category: Renewables
  • Energy type: Hydro
  • Project type: Asset

Water is collected from the headwaters of the River Cassley by two aqueducts and diverted into a headpond at Duchally, where it is used to drive two small turbines in a power station built into Duchally Weir.

The water from one passes through a turbine directly coupled to a 325kW induction generator, and the second supplies water to an impulse turbine directly coupled to a 125kW induction generator.

This is a remote and inaccessible area and so the output of the turbines is remotely controlled by the level of the water in the aqueducts, with provision for automatic shut down during periods of very low water.

  • Part of the Conon Shin hydro scheme
  • Located in Lairg, Highlands
  • 0.5MW capacity

More information

Power from the Glens

Scottish Hydro Electric, then known as the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board and now part of SSE, was established by an Act of Parliament in 1943.

It was to be responsible for generating, transmitting, distributing and supplying electricity throughout the north of Scotland, including the Highlands and Islands. This covers about 25% of the total land area of Britain but just 3% of the population. The region contains Britain’s highest mountains and largest inland lochs which, combined with high rainfall, make hydro electricity viable.

Hydro electricity is produced using the power of running water to turn the turbines of generating sets in power stations. The technology dates back to the late 19th Century when the first privately owned hydro electric power stations were built to power the aluminium smelting industry and to provide local electricity supplies. But it took the vision of one man, Tom Johnston, the Secretary of State for Scotland in Churchill's wartime coalition government, to bring power from the glens for the benefit of all. At the time, it was estimated that just one farm in six, and one croft in a hundred, had electricity. Today, virtually every home in Scotland has mains electricity.

Today, hydro electricity, together with wind farms and emerging technologies such as wave and tidal power, is helping the country meet its commitment to provide increasing amounts of energy from renewable sources. A major refurbishment programme of Scottish Hydro Electric’s hydro stations has ensured these wonderful assets can produce clean electricity for the nation for decades to come.

This booklet is dedicated to the memory of the ‘Hydro Boys’ whose legacy is the largest source of renewable energy in the country.