Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

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bid thomas
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Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by bid thomas » Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:20 pm

There is a planning application in for a run of the river scheme on the Kiachnish. Cracking spate run about 4 miles south of Fort William.

The intake wier would be about 400 meters (very roughly) below the loch. It would have a huge impact on the river.

I have talked to the planner and he said that he had only just been told that the SCA had not been notified. He said that he would take an offical representation from the SCA and also from indviduals.

The easiest way is by email

Michael Kordas Michael.Kordas@highland.gov.uk

The Highland Council planning ref is 14/02912/FUL. If you just put the reference into google, it will lead you to the correct page on the Highland Council planning site.

I think we need to move quickly on this as the offical date for comments was in mid August, but Michael said he would still accept comments.

So please get writing and circulate this to all your paddling mates.

thanks
Bid

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by StillNewish » Fri Oct 03, 2014 4:23 pm

Done it.

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by banzer » Fri Oct 03, 2014 5:40 pm

Here we go again. Is this all about EU subsidies? It's certainly not about efficient energy. For 95% of the year the Kiachnish carries very little water.

How long till they try to get their hands on the Nevis again?
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Gawage1
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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by Gawage1 » Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:10 pm

As a kayaker and Engineering student I'm interested in both sides of these hydro power debates. There are obvious positives energy wise of hydro power and obvious negatives kayaking wise. But also there can also be positives for kayakers can there not? For example the Morriston has regular releases throughout the summer enabling folk to paddle when there is not much water about? But I also get that damming all rivers and running to a schedule takes any sort of adventure out of the sport, I'm just interested in peoples opinions as to whether hydro power can be beneficial for kayakers in some cases?

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by Jim » Fri Oct 03, 2014 7:00 pm

Gawage1 wrote:As a kayaker and Engineering student I'm interested in both sides of these hydro power debates. There are obvious positives energy wise of hydro power and obvious negatives kayaking wise. But also there can also be positives for kayakers can there not? For example the Morriston has regular releases throughout the summer enabling folk to paddle when there is not much water about? But I also get that damming all rivers and running to a schedule takes any sort of adventure out of the sport, I'm just interested in peoples opinions as to whether hydro power can be beneficial for kayakers in some cases?
The Moriston is large scale dam and reservoir generating a significant amount of power.
I can't see the Kiachnish being used the same way, it will be a run of river micro-hydro (<3MW) which abstracts the water 400m below the loch, pipes it past almost all of the top part of the run (continuous grade 4), through a turbine and then back into the river probably near the start of the gorge (I portaged it but it is run), possibly even below the gorge, leaving the riverbed in between dry.

As an engineering student you need to read up some more on the issues of decommissioning large scale hydro, you might be less keen on it then. Small scale hydro as far as I can tell is all about politics and being seen to meet targets at whatever cost.

Is there an old dilapidated leat running part way along the Kiachnish or am I thinking of another river?

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by Jim » Fri Oct 03, 2014 7:11 pm

Looking at the map on the planning site, water will be taken out from about where the nice 2m drop is that you can see from the road near the put in, and returned almost at the takeout (below the gorge). I.e. the whole section will be dry when the scheme is operating, which is likely to include all possible paddling days.

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by Gawage1 » Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:54 pm

I've never done the Kiachnish so am unsure what it's like, but agree that small head run of river systems with small installed capacity are pretty pointless in the grand scheme of things. I was more asking a general question of opinions of larger impounded hydro systems which are capable of providing regular releases.

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by banzer » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:15 am

Gawage1 wrote:I've never done the Kiachnish so am unsure what it's like, but agree that small head run of river systems with small installed capacity are pretty pointless in the grand scheme of things. I was more asking a general question of opinions of larger impounded hydro systems which are capable of providing regular releases.
Yes they 'might' be capable but it is unlikely that kayaking is high on the list of reasons for releases. 'Maintaining river ecology' is usually the main one, or filling a lower-down reservoir. These releases may or may not be at the right level for kayaking.

England and Wales have many reservoirs but only one each with releases specifically geared for kayaking (Washburn and Tryweryn). It's hardly a given.
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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by RichA » Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:46 am

FFS!!! Grrrrrr!!!!! How many more pointless tiny hydro schemes will they try to make!?

Objection placed - thanks for the heads up and email link.

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by BigPhil » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:31 am

RichA wrote:FFS!!! Grrrrrr!!!!! How many more pointless tiny hydro schemes will they try to make!?

Objection placed - thanks for the heads up and email link.
This is terrible - a run of the Kiachnish many years ago is one of my best memories on the river. I haven't been there for ages so it might be good to hear the details of your objection Rich as I don't have the data to formulate one of my own. Not much power and not likely to run very often seem to be the main case against as well as the environmental disruption? Can you post up the message you sent?

Phil

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by RichA » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:52 am

Hi Phil,

This was my message. Unfortunately no details of recorded runs. Tiny schemes like this really piss me off - why don't they find a worthwhile river to dam? I'd object less to a scheme on a river with a significant benefit to outweigh the damage it causes.



Hello Michael,

I have just heard about a proposed hydro-electric scheme on the Kiachnish, and have been advised that the closing date for comments has passed, but that you will still accept comments.

Please take this email as my formal and complete objection to the proposed scheme.

As a kayaker, this will likely ruin an excellent stretch of white water.
As someone that cares a great deal about 'green' energy, this is a tiny scheme that is not worth pursuing and is time and effort that would be better invested in other projects.
As someone that strongly cares about our environment, this scheme will create more damage than is acceptable for the tiny amount of energy that it might produce when river flows rarely reach a suitable level.

Please can you take my opinion on board as a complete objection to the proposed scheme.

Many thanks,

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by Poke » Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:40 pm

Another one:
Dear Michael,

I’ve just heard about the proposed hydro scheme on the Kiachnish river near Fort William (14/02912/FUL). I understand that the official closing date for comments has passed but I understand that this deadline has been extended for a few weeks.

Whilst I am not local to the area, I visit frequently on kayaking trips. The introduction of small hydro schemes on various rivers in the region are making these trips increasingly less fruitful and thus less appealing. I would ask that the planners pay particular attention to the revenues tourists bring to Fort William, and the potential impact on these this scheme may have.

Whilst I understand that the government feels it must offer not insignificant subsidies to “green” power companies in order to install these schemes, I feel that this is a very short sighted approach, especially given the tiny amount of power that the scheme will be able to generate. These schemes invariably ruin the river for kayaking, impact the natural beauty of the area for tourists and locals alike, and will also negatively impact the ecosystem of the river.

Please accept this email as an objection to the scheme in question.

Kind Regards
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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by DaveWortley » Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:48 pm

Such a shame with so much tidal potential around there to be concerned with damming spate rivers...

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by Poke » Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:41 am

I've just had an email through with the subject line "Planning Application Decision Details".
Unfortunately I can't open the attachment.
Has anyone else had the same email and can give us an update?
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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by paddletastic2 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:43 pm


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RichA
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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by RichA » Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:41 am

Yep, same email. That's a shame, there goes another one!

Does anyone have a link to the specific planning details, i.e. flow rates, extraction points etc?

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by Mark R » Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:46 am

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by Jim » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:47 am

RichA wrote:Yep, same email. That's a shame, there goes another one!

Does anyone have a link to the specific planning details, i.e. flow rates, extraction points etc?
No, but I found it before by typing the reference Bid listed at the start of the thread into the highlands planning website. Lots of documents and drawings there.

Interestingly I have since been told that for rule of thumb economics, people are currently basing their estimates on earning £1 million per year per MW - I don't know if that's gross or net, about right, or wildly inaccurate rumour, but it's not hard to see the attraction....

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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by Notters » Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:48 pm

Is that the consultation process complete on this then? terrible news. Whats the output on the scheme, not looked at the application. We had an archimedes screw type system installed locally on the ettrick water. It cost £1.3m and the output is 210kw at max capacity (225homes). Not brilliant when you think it wont run at max capacity all the time. This is significant when you think what they are suggesting is the output for the Kiachnish, as i doubt they will reach that target very often.

Jim, it wont be far off the gross estimated target. From memory roughly through the wind industry, rule of thumb is £1m per megawatt to install if you consider infrastructure as well. And a 3MW turbine on a good producing site with a capacity of >35% could possibly pay itself off in 3.4yrs.
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Re: Kiachnish - planning application for a hydro scheme

Post by The Drowned Fish » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:43 am

Nooooooooooo.

On the other hand that's a lot less broken boats!

Cheers
Simon

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