Dickins Hydro Resources

Case Study 1: The Roromore Hydro Project

Comments from William Dickins, CEO of Dickins Hydro Resources Ltd on the Roromore project:

In 2007, when we first started to consider building a hydro scheme at Roromore, it was far from certain whether the potential cost of building such a project would make it a viable one. There were no grants available, even with ROCs (renewable obligation certificates) payments are payable on production of electricity, provided no certainty that it would be a success.

The project was to build a 950Kw scheme with a 230m head over 1.7km at Roromore. This formed part of a semi co-ordinated effort with other Landowners, for 7 hydro schemes producing c.6.5Mw of electricity. Whereby 22kms of 33Kv cable were laid underground, connecting all the schemes to the grid. Organising the export of the generated electricity was one of the earliest hurdles to overcome. Planning, environmental and archaeological surveys were rigorously undertaken. Continual co-ordination involving agencies such as SEPA and SNH with our construction company ensured the scheme progressed relatively smoothly, given the pressures of construction during the winter months of extreme weather, down to –20°C, as well as significant rainfall effecting silt run off.

Crucial to the viability of the project was the early stage planning that was undertaken by a group of Landowners. This careful planning and a thorough assessment of the survey data, which was gathered over a period of time, was used to calculate the appropriate sized scheme for the river flow.

This project has instilled a commitment to the idea that renewable energy from hydro is not only essential for the environment but in the short, medium and long term will prove to be a vital source of income for Estates. The knowledge and operational value of the team which we have put together has been harnessed to provide an efficient business unit to develop new projects from 50Kw to 2Mw with Landowners.