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

Opened in 1950 by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1900 - 2002). Water descends through tunnels and pipes from Loch Sloy, passing through the southern slopes of Ben Vorlich.

Four 2m diameter high-pressure steel pipes drop down to the station each supplying a seperate generator set. The head is 277m.

  • Part of the Sloy Awe scheme
  • Located on Loch Lomond, Argyll and Bute
  • 152.5MW capacity

More information

News releases

SSE Renewables closes Pitlochry dam pathway (24 March)

SSE Renewables, the owners and operators of Pitlochry Hydro Power Station, will be closing the pathway across Pitlochry dam from Wednesday 25 March until further notice.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and in line with UK and Scottish government advice, the decision has been made to close the walkway temporarily to visitors. 
In order to limit the spread of the virus, governments are advising that if people go outside, they must stay 2m away from others for their safety. Due to the nature of the walkway at Pitlochry dam, there is not adequate room for this safe distance to be maintained while allowing the operational team to continue their work at a safe distance from visitors. 
Andy Hay, SSE Renewables Hydro Operations Manager, said: “The decision to close the walkway is not one that has been taken lightly, but given the current circumstances, it is one we need to take to ensure the safety of our employees and the public.
“Safety is our number one priority and whilst we know this news will be disappointing, we hope people can appreciate it is a step that we have taken in line with government advice to manage the Coronavirus outbreak whilst maintaining critical generation infrastructure.”
Gates will be closed at both side of the dam walkway. SSE Renewables will continue to monitor the situation and in light of ongoing government advice may bring in further restrictions within the area around Pitlochry Hydro Power Station. The walkway will reopen when it is considered safe to do so.
Pitlochry Hydro Power Station itself is running as normal, continuing to provide critical clean, renewable energy to help meet the UK’s energy needs. Employees who work on site to carry out essential operations and maintenance at the power station, a key contributor to the GB electricity network, have been advised of new protocols in line with government advice on Coronavirus (Covid-19) to keep them safe and reduce transmission of the virus.

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.