The scheme would use water from the Loch Thom Compensation Reservoir
INVERCLYDE planners are recommending that approval is given for a hydro-electric power scheme that would take water in a new four-kilometre pipeline buried between Loch Thom and Inverkip.
The 1,000-kilowatt facility would be based on the Kip Water. It would use excess water that is spilled from the Loch Thom Reservoir into the Compensation Reservoir and transfer it by pipeline into the Daff Reservoir.
It would then be moved from the Daff Reservoir to a powerhouse at Bankfoot through a high pressure buried pipeline. The powerhouse would then return the water to Kip Water unchanged in quality and quantity.
The fully-automated scheme, proposed by Greenock Hydro Power Ltd, would lie entirely on Ardgowan Estate land. Construction would last about 20 months.
The planning application was made in November 2018 but is only now being put before councillors for a decision. The proposal is due to be considered at next week’s meeting of Inverclyde Planning Board.
Officials say the development should go ahead. They note that there would be visual impact on the countryside during excavation of the pipeline but the land would be ‘generally reinstated’ to its previous condition and appearance.
They state in their report: “The proposed intakes, powerhouse and switchroom are limited in size and will also have a limited visual impact on the landscape.
“Whilst it is accepted there will be an impact on access and recreation, particularly during the construction period, subject to appropriate management, mitigation and aftercare, it is considered that this impact would not be of such significance that the refusal of planning permission is warranted.
“It is considered that through proper management of the construction programme together with reinstatement and mitigation as well as tree planting, the long-term post construction impacts arising from this development will be acceptable.”
Conditions would be in place to restrict construction during the hen harrier breeding season.
Electricity generated from the scheme would be exported to the National Grid via an overhead line from the existing line north of Dunrod Farm to the switchroom which would be connected via a buried cable to the powerhouse.
The operation of the scheme would be dependent on water levels and flows within the reservoirs and tributaries. The turbine would only operate when there was enough water.
The construction corridor for the pipeline would be restricted to a width of approximately 18 to 30 metres. The pipeline would be buried or mounded over.
| Application documents on Inverclyde Council planning portal