Commission ramps up hydro power

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Forestry Commission Scotland has joined forces with a consortium made up of Broadland Properties and Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Limited to explore the development of small scale hydro projects on the national forest estate.

The consortium will now spend the next eight months working up a list of suitable hydro sites in locations stretching from the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Lowlands and Argyllshire, right up through Tayside and the north east of Scotland.

If agreed by the Commission, the consortium will develop the plans further, taking them through the planning process and, if successful, construction and operation phases.

Announcing the hydro boost, Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:

"This deal is part of an on-going drive by the Commission to develop clean and renewable energy projects on the national forest estate. The work will also make a significant contribution to achieving demanding Scottish Government renewable energy targets.

“I am particularly pleased that all these hydro projects will offer real community benefits. Communities in the vicinity of projects will have the chance to invest in the schemes and active community groups in the vicinity of a development will receive a leading edge annual sum of £5,000 per MW. This is good news for communities wishing to get more involved and take a greater stake in their future.”

It is estimated that the national forest estate has the potential to develop at least 50 MW of power from run-of-river hydro schemes.

Charles Crewdson, Chairman of Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon added:

“We are very pleased to be given the opportunity to help develop the hydro potential on the national forest estate alongside Broadland Properties.

“We have been serving the UK Hydro market for over 150 years, and look forward to seeing our technology and experience contributing to both combating climate change and helping to take forward these exciting new developments on the national forest estate.”

Commenting on the agreement Richard Guthrie, director of Broadland Properties said:

“We are very pleased to be invited, alongside Gilkes, to develop some of the hydro potential of the Forestry Commission Scotland national forest estate. We look forward to bringing our experience to the table as both a longstanding property management firm and an existing run-of-river hydro developer.

“In recent years, Broadlands have consented and installed three schemes and have two more currently under construction with commissioning expected by end of 2010. 

“Broadland’s feel that the development of appropriately sized and located run-of-river schemes on the Commission’s land will provide a significant boost to the sector and contribute to the Scottish economy, local employment and renewable energy targets.”

Notes to news editors

1.   The national forest estate has considerable potential for hydro power generated from small, run-of-river schemes.  Sites that have already been developed are capable of generating 12.4 MW of power and schemes with the capacity to generate a further 11MW are either committed or under negotiation. 

2.  Forestry Commission Scotland is also undertaking a tender exercise with commercial energy companies to develop wind energy projects on the national forest estate. It is expected that this process will be completed by the end of this year. For more information on wind and small scale energy projects on the national forest estate, please log on to

3.  Forest Renewables - the Commission’s internal business unit – will oversee all the work and manage the development of any hydro schemes developed on Scotland’s forests estate to ensure that the schemes help achieve the Scottish Government’s renewable energy policy and comply with the Scottish Forestry Strategy. Functions include negotiating and managing leases for wind and hydropower; negotiating joint ventures for wind and hydropower, representing the interests of FCS on these JVs; ensuring full compliance with development consent procedures; and ensuring that lessees and JVs promote community benefits.

4.   The consortium Broadland/Gilkes comprises of Broadland Properties Ltd and Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd. Broadland are an established property management firm who will have, by the end of 2010, installed and commissioned five hydro schemes on one of their estates, in a period of four and a half years. Broadlands are currently surveying a portfolio of other schemes both on their property and other private land and forecast significant growth in this sector over the coming years. 

Gilkes is Britain’s leading hydro-turbine manufacturer and have been in operation for the last 150 years and are based in Kendal, Cumbria. By appointment to her Majesty the Queen, Gilkes provided hydro equipment to the Balmoral Estate in 1900 for Queen Victoria and a refurbished system in 2005. Gilkes Energy is the development arm of Gilkes and has partnered with landowners in five schemes in Scotland and the English Lakes and has a significant number of further hydro projects in the development pipeline.

4. Media enquiries to:
Forestry Commission Scotland press office, Steve Williams on 0131 314 6508 or

For Broadland/Gilkes contact: Carl Crompton, Project Development Manager, Gilkes Energy Limited. or call
07919 112 542.