CONSTRUCTION OF Britain's first hydroelectric dam since the 1960s is due to start next spring in West Scotland.
A £5.5M, 3.5MW dam will be built on Loch Uisge near Strontian from April 2003, for electricity provider Southern & Scottish Energy (SSE).
The 6m tall structure is being built to replace an existing hydroelectric dam in the region which will be demolished, SSE civil engineering manager Neil Sandilands said this week.
The new dam, of either concrete or rockfill construction, will be 3m taller than the old one to give greater storage and boost energy production, he said.
SSE is considering tenders for a design and build construction of the dam from RJ Mcleod, Amalgamated Construction, Barr and Morrison, to be awarded shortly. The dam is expected to take 15 months to build.
SSE is also preparing a planning application to the Scottish Executive in January 2003 for a 35m high, 60MW hydroelectric dam on the banks of Loch Ness.
If given the go-ahead, the new £50M dam will be built on private land and include 16km of tunnelling works to install hydro-electric turbines.
Both projects would help meet Scotland's Renewables Obligation, passed by ministers in April 2002, under which 18% of its electricity would come from renewable sources by 2010.
Currently Scotland raises 11% from sustainable sources.
INFOPLUS www. scottish-southern.co.uk