Hydro Ness is an Archimedes screw hydroelectric scheme, and interactive visitor experience, that will generate over 500,000 kWh of renewable energy each year.
The Archimedes screw turbine-generator consists of a rotor in the shape of an Archimedean screw – with a hollow cylinder and a spiral part on the outside — which rotates in a semicircular trough. Water flows into the screw and its weight presses down onto the blades, forcing the turbine to turn. Water flows freely off the end of the screw into the river. The upper end of the screw is connected to a generator through a gearbox.
The electricity generated will feed the nearby Inverness Leisure Centre, providing roughly 50% of the site’s electricity demand. The installation will allow a controlled water flow, as well as providing sufficient screen to protect fish. The turbine is designed to have a low environmental impact.
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.” Bremner said the river levels will dictate when the turbine is operational. “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,” he said.
The scheme, which includes the interactive visitor experience, will be open to the public starting on July 29.