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SCDI Highlands & Islands Business Excellence Awards: The Highland Council

The Highland Council’s Hydro Ness, an award-winning hydroelectric scheme with an interpretive visitor experience, has now opened to the public bringing energy and excitement to the River Ness.

Hydro Ness, which utilises historical infrastructure from a disused hydro scheme dating back to the 1920’s and is situated on the banks of the River Ness directly adjacent to the Holm Mills bridge, is an Archimedes screw project generating electricity for the nearby valued community asset Inverness Leisure Centre. The flagship scheme is expected to generate over 500,000 kWh of renewable energy each year, resulting in both financial and carbon savings for Highland Council.

The site has also benefitted from the addition of high quality and completely bespoke interpretive content. The interpretive experience, designed by Mather & Co, will help articulate key messages relating to important topics including environment and ecology, renewable energy, and climate change and will be a welcome addition to a high footfall area of the city and will help strengthen the river as an attraction.

In addition, the site itself will act as a hub for STEM learning with resources for school classes developed by the Science Skills Academy. The SSA, has also produced several educational animations which will enrich the learning experience on site.

As well as the SSA, Hydro Ness has worked in partnership with several organisations including High Life Highland, Visit Inverness Loch Ness, University of the Highlands and Islands, SSE Renewables, Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE), Zero Waste Scotland and Salix Finance Ltd.

The opening comes after the news that the project has been short-listed for the Best Climate Action or Decarbonisation Initiative category of the APSE Service Awards 2022.

Hydro Ness is free to visit and open year-round 24 hours a day.