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First new turbine at Tummel Bridge Power Station starts generating power

20 May 2024

Perthshire’s iconic Tummel Bridge Power Station is generating renewable electricity once again following the successful installation and energisation of the first of two new hydro power turbines.

This marks a major milestone in SSE Renewables’ £50 million investment to repower the hydro station which, once complete, will increase the station’s potential output from 34 to 40 megawatts (MW) during optimum conditions.

The project involves the replacement of the station’s two original ‘Camel Back’ twin-runner, horizontal Francis hydro turbines, which were installed in 1933, with new modern runner technology that will extend the power station’s working life by at least 40 years.

The new modern units will significantly improve efficiency and enable a higher generation output by extracting the maximum energy from the available water.

The project team will continue to focus on the second turbine, which is installed and now undergoing dry commissioning tests. The turbine is expected to be energised and operational by mid-summer 2024.

"This is one of the largest investments we’ve made to our existing hydro fleet in recent times. This project demonstrates our ongoing commitment to invest in hydro power, so we’re proud to reach such a significant milestone in the Tummel Bridge Power Station replant.

Hydro power has a vital role to play in our path to achieving net zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2050 and this investment will ensure Tummel Bridge continues to play a crucial role in Scotland’s energy mix for generations to come. The project is a perfect example of extending the working life of a station which has successfully generated clean, green energy for around 90 years.

Getting to this point in the project wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of our contract partners. We would also like to thank the local community for their continued cooperation as our attention now turns to the installation and commissioning of the second turbine unit, which is expected to be completed this summer."

Neil Lannen Director of Hydro Asset Management at SSE Renewables

The delivery of the repowering programme has also supported Scotland’s regional supply chain, helping sustain and create local jobs in the Highlands throughout the duration of the works.

Inverness-headquartered Global Infrastructure has operated as Principal Contractor for the duration of the project, establishing and controlling a complex site, coordinating and managing the safety and work packages of all contracting staff and visitors and delivered enabling works including site establishment, superstructure bracing work, and general site readiness. Global also successfully managed the complex dismantling of the original 90-year-old equipment, complete civil works to remove original foundations within the powerhouse down to bedrock and reinstate a new foundation for the plant.

Stantec, with bases in Edinburgh and Glasgow, has led on Civil Design as well as supporting the engineering team; and Voith, a leading manufacturer of hydropower turbines and generators, has led on the Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) elements of the project.

"Tummel bridge is a vital part of SSE moving towards zero carbon, we are delighted to have played a leading role in delivering this project for this client.

This project was a complex design with a lot of interface management between different supply chain, we hope this is the first of many projects we will delivering with SSE over the next 5 years."

David Macdonald Managing Director, for Global Infrastructure

"The Tummel Bridge upgrade is a truly unique hydro scheme. I’m proud Stantec’s energy teams were able to play an important role in the design, working closely and collaboratively with SSE Renewables and the contractors.

Successfully rehabilitating such an iconic, listed power station demonstrates a viable future for extending hydro infrastructure life, and is a shining example of how Scotland’s hydropower design industry is at the forefront of the low-carbon agenda. The complex works carried out at Tummel can help spur the whole industry on to deliver proposed new-build hydro facilities, and nurture future infrastructure design talent."

Craig Scott Stantec’s Director of Hydropower and Dams