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Highland Council confirms SSE Renewables as the education partner for its key green energy project Hydro Ness on the River Ness with the company focussing on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education

By Scott Maclennan

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Hydro Ness illuminated. Credit: Councillor Duncan Macpherson.
Hydro Ness illuminated. Credit: Councillor Duncan Macpherson.

SSE Renewables is to be official education partner for the Highland Council’s keynote renewable project on the River Ness Hydro Ness.

The company will provide the basis for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) learning element that was due to be incorporated before it opens to the public on the afternoon of July 28.

To celebrate this announcement, Hydro Ness will be illuminated in the SSE Renewables logo colours – blue and white – tonight.

Hydro Ness is a 93KW hydroelectric scheme based on the Archimedes Screw that is built on historic infrastructure from a disused hydro scheme dating back to 1929.

It generates over 500,000 KWH of renewable electricity each year for use at the nearby Inverness Leisure Centre.

As the official STEM partner of the scheme, SSE Renewables has made a substantial contribution to support educational information points at the site and school outreach materials.

That will allow the project to be a STEM learning hub and provide visitors with the opportunity to interact with a unique micro hydro scheme and learn about the local environment and ecology.

The content funded by SSE Renewables will provide background on different hydro technologies and help showcase large scale hydro schemes including the company’s flagship Coire Glas project.

Coire Glas is a large-scale pumped storage hydro scheme at Loch Lochy in the Great Glen which will have a potential capacity of up to 1500 megawatts and would more than double Great Britain’s existing electricity storage capacity.

A decision on whether to progress with the scheme will be made in the winter of 2023 after information is gathered during exploratory works at the site later this year.

Coire Glas Project Director for SSE Renewables Ian Innes said: “Hydro Ness is a really exciting project, not only for the carbon and energy benefits it can deliver, but also its ambition in terms of site content and messaging.

“We are delighted to support the project, particularly given the obvious synergy between Hydro Ness and our flagship Coire Glas project. SSE Renewables is committed to supporting STEM learning opportunities and we hope Hydro Ness, and our own Coire Glas project, will act as inspiration for young people across the region.

“These types of projects will be absolutely vital in achieving net zero and we are excited to see people visit the site and engage with the educational materials and STEM learning opportunities.”

The chairman of the Highland Council’s climate change committee, Councillor Karl Rosie, said: “We are very grateful to SSE Renewables for their support which will be used to fund educational information and interpretation in the new visitor centre.

“It is an inspirational project and it is important that quality educational information about Hydro Ness is provided so students can visit the site as part of their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) learning.

“I am excited to see the new visitor attraction open as it is going to be fascinating to learn more about how science and nature can work together to reduce the impact on our environment.”

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