18th November 2017 was a red letter day for everyone who has been involved with BroomPower.
The community hydro-electric scheme for the Lochbroom area. On that day, BroomPower’s turbine ‘Flo’ was officially switched on and started generating power and therefore building income for the people of Lochbroom.
BroomPower started life as the brainchild of UCT’s then Development Officer Ewan Young in 2012. Ewan had seen the invitation from Forestry Commission Scotland for communities to develop hydro projects on FCS-owned local woodland and thought it an ideal opportunity for Lochbroom, given the area’s beautiful hillside burns and abundant rainfall. To find out if it was indeed possible, feasibility assessments were undertaken and then a community ballot held to gauge interest. The response was overwhelmingly positive and so the BroomPower project was born.
What followed was five years of intense work by many dedicated volunteers to bring the scheme to life, not to mention the all-important investors who together raised the £900,000 that was needed to turn the idea into reality. There were many challenging hurdles to be overcome but it is testament to the persistence and professionalism of all those that gifted their time and expertise to the project, that it was delivered on time and within budget.
Today, you can catch a glimpse of BroomPower as you drive towards Inverness on the A835. Located on the Allt a’Mhuilinn burn 9 miles south of Ullapool, look out for the wooden turbine house with a waterfall behind. Water flowing out of the pipe below the turbine house means we are generating electricity. The current dry spell means there is not much for the turbine to do, but rest assured, as soon as the rains return, then so will generation. More water means a greater flow and more income!
For regular updates on the performance of the hydro, there are monthly updates displayed on the notice board in the New Broom. More information about the scheme, its financing, management and history can be found at www.broompower.org