Pattack Hydro: no objection.

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Dave McCraw
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Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Dave McCraw »

Hi all,

An application is now being made by NPower to put hydro in on the Pattack. The SCA's hydro working group will be considering the proposal between now and the end of January (when the SCA needs to submit its initial response).

So, any comments that people have certainly won't hurt to inform our debate.

This is arguably the first "big name" guidebook river to come up post-Braan (but, get used to it) and the river has both wider appeal (below the Falls) and aspirational value (the Falls themselves) than did the Braan. I don't want to second-guess the rest of the group or what the SCA does with our recommendation, but nevertheless I think that an objection is unlikely.

Any opinions?

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Kizzie_St-As
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Kizzie_St-As »

Grrrr... I like the Pattack, it's a lovely river.

Too ill to think of educated response.
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Jim Pullen
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Jim Pullen »

What's the likely effect of this hydro on the ww section & the falls going to be if it's put in as currently proposed?
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yurperjoe
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by yurperjoe »

I'd like to know not only the effect on the river but also on the enviroment.

I struggle to see the practical advantage of using a river such as the Pattack for hydro power.

Please can the SCA board do as much as possible to block this terrible idea.

If someone can fill in the spaces please do.

Joe
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RichA
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by RichA »

Dave, a couple of questions if I may:

How did you hear about the proposal?
Where is a copy of the proposal that we can view?
Is it a run of river, or dam scheme?
Where abouts on the river is it to be sited, and what is the estimated capacity in terms of power production?

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Dug
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Dug »

All this hydro stuff really depresses me and not just from the paddling side of things.

I can't believe my government is actively perusing a policy of subsidising hydro schemes left right and centre just to try and make themselves look 'green'. I'm all for hydro power on big rivers like the Tummel etc which were all damed a good few years ago now and generate a lot of power, but these small rivers are ridiculous for the amount of building/disruption to the river environment they are just not worth it. What for? So Alex bloody Salmond can cram a few more pies down his throat while telling us that he's green because he's blocking new nuclear power stations (not to mention telling us how fat/drunk we are all the time).
It’s enough to make you seriously think about ‘direct action’ as it seems to be the only way to get people to listen to you these days…

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c.blyth
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by c.blyth »

I would hate to see the Pattack dammed, I thought it was a brilliant river in a stunning location. Surely the rivers volume isn't sufficent enough to create enough power?

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Dug
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Dug »

c.blyth wrote:I would hate to see the Pattack dammed, I thought it was a brilliant river in a stunning location. Surely the rivers volume isn't sufficent enough to create enough power?
Thats exactly it, it wont be and its a damn site bigger than some of the things being damed. It's all about subsidy and making the SNP government look good an not just clueless idealists when they say no to new power plants...

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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Andy H »

It will be a shame to see this river dammed and shame on them for wanting to ruin this beutiful little river and the enviroment around it.

I have very fond memories about this river. I remember driving past this river about 10 years ago and not knowing what it was at the time we took a peek at the lower gorge and thought what a fantastic little gem of a river. We couldnt get our kit on fast enough we was like little children all excited on christmas day. I have paddled it many time since and it still puts a smile on my face.

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james fleming
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by james fleming »

RichA wrote:Dave, a couple of questions if I may:

How did you hear about the proposal?
Where is a copy of the proposal that we can view?
Is it a run of river, or dam scheme?
Where abouts on the river is it to be sited, and what is the estimated capacity in terms of power production?

Rich, Dave is on the SCA Hydro Group. Info re Hydro is sent to the group. If you leave an e-mail address Ill send you the info.

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c.blyth
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by c.blyth »

I thought the Pattack was a nature place thing- I seem to rememeber reading one of the notice board things mentioning it. Surely they can't dam it?

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mharrall
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by mharrall »

There was a piece on the news this evening about a proposal to build some huge pilons to carry wind and wave power across the country. In it they stated that Scotland is aiming to close power plants in favour of reneable energy sources. Obviously this would mean more hydro sites.
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Dave McCraw
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Dave McCraw »

mharrall wrote:There was a piece on the news this evening about a proposal to build some huge pilons to carry wind and wave power across the country. In it they stated that Scotland is aiming to close power plants in favour of reneable energy sources. Obviously this would mean more hydro sites.
Indeed, and that was against 18,000 objections - in contrast something like 150 people objected to the Braan (I forget the number but it certainly wasn't a lot).

To be honest I think we should expect hydro applications on almost all Scottish guidebook rivers that are in the middle or higher grades, and expect most of them to go through. The main hope is that tidal power will come on-stream fast enough to divert run-of-river subsidies and make the schemes uneconomical - how many we'll lose before then depends on the outcome of the Braan, I think. Hopefully the SCA will be able to defend a handful of runs (which, is a whole other argument). For example, SEPA have been pressing for a defined list of up to 10 rivers we'd rather not see hydro on!

The landscape of Scottish boating is already changing rapidly. There aren't any surviving Lyon tribs, and the Arkaig tribs (Cia-aig, Allt Mhuic, etc) are on the way out. The more infrastructure that goes in, the easier it is to hook up adjacent catchments.

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Jim
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Jim »

Contrary to some of the sentiment here I would consider the Pattack to be on the large side compared to most of the sites being considered these days, the fact that it has not already been engulfed is hopefully rooted in something which will continue to protect it?

One of very few streams in the Spean system that are not already directly in the Alcan Hydro system, surely that alone is good enough reason to let it be, we need to have some natural rivers left!

Scots_Charles_River
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

This may be off topic, but how do the french manage it ? They dam a lot of wee rivers but paddling survives, are they bigger volume ?

How will the Pattack scheme actually effect the volume ? Is it extraction, like Laggan Dam on the Spey.

Nick

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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Dave McCraw »

The application is for a dam & reservoir, so while water will be removed from the whitewater section (because the gradient is what generates the power) hopefully no rapids will be directly bulldozed. Because unlike all other schemes it's not run of river, it does perhaps leave open the possibility of 'Pattack releases' similar to the Moriston or Garry - but that's way down the line yet.

m-watson
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by m-watson »

Love this river.. as it is a transition from intermediate to harder white water and hope i can take my son down it SOON Im with DUG direct action maybe best if letters don't work! keep us posted im up for a protest..

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james fleming
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by james fleming »

I was wondering if there were any more thoughts on this.

I ask as the Hydro Group are chit chatting to various people / groups / interests and will be making comment on this soon. Your input will help.

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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by stewarty905 »

Isnt the Pattack already part of the "Lochaber Hydro-Electric Power Scheme" ?

I would rather see energy companies building systems above the larger bodies of water in the uk, pumping up the water at night and releasing it to sell extra Megawatts to the national grid rather than damming stuff.

Anyway why should they be thinking about damming rivers in Scotland,we dont need anymore energy as there are only 5 million of us or so that need to put a light on up here infact we have got too much energy to the point that we have to unload it off down south of the border.

So my question would be "Do we need to damb anymore rivers in Scotland and if so who for ?"

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Jim
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Jim »

stewarty905 wrote:So my question would be "Do we need to dam anymore rivers in Scotland and if so who for ?"
Well I'm not keen on the modern hydro bug either, but your question could be answered aong the lines of:

- Power is a product we can export so it's good for the economy (except of course robbers like Npower rake off most of the money)
- It creates local jobs in construction and ongoing maintenance (hopefully)
- Creating generating capacity close to remote communities may be a way of making their power supply more reliable, I don't think there are many if any communities left with no power at all but if so they are another great argument.
- Future demands (due to growing greed for power) may utilise all the current or even the new capacity

However, the reaity is that these schemes are only viable due to EU subsidy, if that disappears the export argument would probably fail. I also strongly believe that the future will see an increase in efficiency and thus a reduction in demand, and the other 2 arguments are fairly vague too.

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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by stewarty905 »

Jim,
I am all for making money as thats what our daily lives revolve around like it or not however is there a need for over capacity of energy ?
If we for instance look at Scotland and its population and its energy consumption and its energy production i would like to see are we producing more energy than we use and if we are where does the excess go ?
Say for instance we do.....why Dam the Pattack ? it does not make sense, apart from the fact that Money comes into it,as in some shiney arse has sat down and come up with some scheme to make a national company even more money.

Does the UK buy any electricity from abroad ?

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Jim
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Jim »

But money is ALL companies are interested in, so to them it does make sense, just not to us.

A company gets no benefit from spending a weekend on the river or in the hills, but we know it's good for us and understand that we need to balance these things with money.... The company just needs money.

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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Dave McCraw wrote:The main hope is that tidal power will come on-stream fast enough to divert run-of-river subsidies and make the schemes uneconomical
No chance - hydro schemes can be up and running far quicker than any tidal scheme.
stewarty905 wrote:I am all for making money as thats what our daily lives revolve around like it or not however is there a need for over capacity of energy ?
Just think, wouldn't we all be quite f**ked if Russia and Saudi Arabia had similar parochial attitudes to this? There is a need for lots of hydro to provide controllable supply unlike most other renewables and nuclear.
stewarty905 wrote:Does the UK buy any electricity from abroad?
Yes, the 2GW interconnector to Europe is importing most of the time AFAIR.
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by Dave McCraw »

TechnoEngineer wrote:
Dave McCraw wrote:The main hope is that tidal power will come on-stream fast enough to divert run-of-river subsidies and make the schemes uneconomical
No chance - hydro schemes can be up and running far quicker than any tidal scheme.
Sorry, I didn't mean this actual application - clearly the timescale for practical tidal is much longer.

However, remember that all of these hydro schemes are inherently unviable - the Braan for example was going to produce 1/3 as much energy as a single wind turbine. But, the subsidies are there to make it happen, and the political will to override other concerns. Hopefully this would not be the case if there was a reliable, powerful, and inoffensive alternative in the form of tidal, and that's the way things are leaning.

Anyway, if you're right, we will lose everything - there are over a thousand potential hydro proposals. So fingers crossed!
TechnoEngineer wrote:
stewarty905 wrote:I am all for making money as thats what our daily lives revolve around like it or not however is there a need for over capacity of energy ?
Just think, wouldn't we all be quite f**ked if Russia and Saudi Arabia had similar parochial attitudes to this? There is a need for lots of hydro to provide controllable supply unlike most other renewables and nuclear.
Well, I suppose it might make it a bit tricky for three car families who choose to live a hundred miles from where they work! However, I am well in favour of the idea of becoming a low carbon powerhouse and making a killing from selling clean energy to the rest of the UK / Europe (not that we ever made much from our oil and gas resource, so perhaps this is a bit naive!)

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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by stewarty905 »

TechnoEngineer wrote:
Just think, wouldn't we all be quite f**ked if Russia and Saudi Arabia had similar parochial attitudes to this? There is a need for lots of hydro to provide controllable supply unlike most other renewables and nuclear.
TechnoEngineer wrote:
Yes, the 2GW interconnector to Europe is importing most of the time AFAIR.[/quote]

TechnoEngineer,
You SEEM to know lots more about this energy Qs than some others here.I believe you are trying to say in your answers that as a country,

1. Hydro power is the way to go in this country because its easy to switch off and on ?
2. We (UK) use more power than we can produce ?

And yes we would all be f**ked because Russia would have invaded from the east and would not have stopped in France Saudi Arabia would have dragged us into a third world war.

If

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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by TechnoEngineer »

1. Yes we need Hydro to help with balancing and this will be moreso in the future as Gas supply dwindles, so it will be an essential part of the generation mix.
2. Again, the interconnector helps with balancing, and yes by being a net importer we inevitably consume more electricity than we produce. We are now also net importers of oil and gas.

Back in Year 2000 I saw "the Money Programme" featuring Colin Campbell talking about Peak Oil. Over the following few years I became obsessed about the future of Energy. I've read numerous books (e.g. "The Party's Over") and websites, watched numerous videos (e.g. "End of Suburbia"), attended various conferences etc. There is a *lot* of "doomerism" around this subject and it can seriously affect people psychologically when they learn about it. I've learnt over the years to not jump down peoples' throats; it's one of those things where you hope you can avoid discussing something but then some berk says "petrol is expensive" and then it all starts again......

I remember once being at the IET "Great Energy Debate", talking to a rep' from Shell who was very positive during his presentation, but had a completely different tone when we chatted to him afterwards. I often talk to some guys from NGT whose job is to maintain gas and electricity balancing. Although I believe most of the Climate Change science, my focus is mostly on Energy Security - the supply side.

A couple of good videos are this one from Colin Campbell and this one from Peter Fraenkel
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by neilfarmer »

TechnoEngineer wrote:1. Yes we need Hydro to help with balancing and this will be moreso in the future as Gas supply dwindles, so it will be an essential part of the generation mix.
How would 'run of river' hydro schemes help 'balance the grid'. I can understand the argument for storage schemes (Moriston, Garry, Tummel, etc) and the pumped "battery" schemes such as the scheme near Loch Awe, but not a run of river scheme. Surely, that is even more unreliable than anything else. The Braan for example, would in almost every year, generate nothing from April to September.
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Run-of-river could adjust the intake, so on a very windy day NG may call on them to extract less water.
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by neilfarmer »

TechnoEngineer wrote:Run-of-river could adjust the intake, so on a very windy day NG may call on them to extract less water.
Yes that may be true, but they do not operate on most days, since there is not enough water in the rivers, hardly an 'on demand system'. If the water does not go straight into generation, it runs down the river and is lost!
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Re: Pattack Hydro: no objection.

Post by mfflower »

I believe the theory is that the greater the diversification there is, the more resiliant the grid will be. For example scotland is building a lot of wind power - presumably so as to avoid building new nuclear. If the wind stops blowing the electricity generated from the wind turbines reduces - but the energy from the run of the river scheme will not. This means the fossil back up doesn't have to ramp up quite as far.

The capital cost of these things defines their price, so once it's in it's always going to run if it can. The benefit is that less fossil plant needs to be run. That means less CO2 and smaller electricity bills.
stewarty905 wrote:So my question would be "Do we need to dam anymore rivers in Scotland and if so who for ?"
Us in London and in my opinion sadly yes

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