Galloway hydro-electric

Galloway hydro-electric power scheme

Power station at Tongland
Clatteringshaws Dam

The Galloway hydro-electric power scheme is a network of dams and hydro-electric power stations in Galloway, south west Scotland. It was built between 1930 and 1936.

The generating stations draw water from the River Ken, River Dee and River Doon through reservoirs at Loch Doon, Kendoon, Carsfad, Clatteringshaws, and Tongland. The unusual modernist stations were designed by Scottish civil engineer, Sir Alexander Gibb.

The scheme, which is today operated by Scottish Power, can produce a total peak power of around 106 megawatts.


The scheme was authorized by the Galloway Water Power Act on 10 May 1929, by which the Galloway Water Power Company was incorporated. Chairman of the board was former colonial administrator Lord Meston. Also on the board was Robert Brand, managing director of the project's underwriter, Lazard Brothers and Company.

Design was carried out by William McLellan of Merz & McLellan. Construction began three years later in 1932 and was completed in 1936. The scheme was made viable by the recent formation of the National Grid which made generation of electricity in remote areas useful. Hydro power was particularly helpful to this grid because of its ability to be turned on and off very quickly to meet peak demands (in contrast to oil and coal stations), and to meet the natural increase during the more energy demanding winter months.

The total cost of the scheme was around three million pounds. At a cost of £29 per kilowatt of installed capacity, they were some of the least costly stations ever built in the UK.[1]

The scheme was extended in 1984 with the addition of the Drumjohn power station which made use of the existing needle valve where the water from Loch Doon and the Deuch feed into the Dee. This station has a capacity of just 2.3 megawatts, but was constructed largely using existing infrastructure.

Wether Hill

Wether Hill

Wether Hill in the Carsphairn/Moniaive hills is a 14 turbine wind farm that delivers 18MW of power, this is enough to power 10,000 homes. It was opened in 2007 by Scottish Power, and will help cut carbon emissions by 40,000 tonnes, , the equivalent of taking 13,500 cars off the road.

Galloway Water Power

Natural Power Production:

The Galloway Water Power Company

 The Galloway Water Power Act of 1929 provided for the setting up of the Galloway Hydro-Electric Scheme between 1930 - 1936 which covers a total of 396 sq. miles. Originally it involved the construction of 5 power stations, eight large dams, four tunnel systems, two seasonal reservoirs, and five daily storage reservoirs. The total drop between Loch Doon and the sea is only 700 feet over a distance of 40 miles.

In the north, the level of Loch Doon was raised 27 feet, submerging the which stood on an island in the loch. The outer shell of the castle was dismantled and re-built on the shore. The outlet from the loch to the Clyde was dammed and tunnels were constructed through the adjoining hills so that water could be diverted to and from the water of Deugh.Drumjohn, (2.3 MW) the 9th and latest power station to be constructed in 1985 makes use of the needle valve already there, and lies between Loch Doon and the Deugh. By this means water can be let intoKendoon daily reservoir together with the normal river water for use in Kendoonpower station which has a capacity of 24 MW.

The water then passes down the river to Carsfad reservoir and power station which has a capacity of 12 MW and on to Earlstonwhich has a capacity of 14 MW. Thereafter the water discharges into the original river bed and flows into Loch Ken. These two power stations have always been automatically controlled from Glenlee, capacity 24 MW.

Glenlee is the only high head station in the Galloway Scheme it gets its water from an artificial loch (Clatteringshaws), built on the upper reaches of the Blackwater of Dee, and the water drops 125 metres through 6 kilometres of tunnel to reach the power station where it is discharged into Loch Ken which is used to regulate the water level for Tongland power station (33MW) on the river Dee, just outside Kirkcudbright. The water for Tongland is controlled by a barrage which has six sluice gates at Glenlochar. Tongland has it’s own reservoir with a dam on the river Dee and thereafter the water flows into the Solway.

The scheme is used to give peak load support to the National Grid. There is a visitor centre at Tongland where you may see the turbine hall and learn more about hydro power.




Windy Standard Windfarm has been operation since1996 and at present is one of the largest windfarms in Scotland. Windy StandardIt currently has thirty-six 600kW turbines producing a combined maximum power of 21.6MW, each turbine produces enough power for about 550 homes. It is located between 500 and 680 meters up in the hills between Galloway and Ayrshire and covers 350 ha, though only1% of this is actual turbines.

There have been a number of other wind farms proposed in the area which are currently going through the planning process.

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

There are several forms of renewable energy, for example, wind power, wave and tidal power, biomass, heat pumps, hydro and solar.

Hydro power was popular in the first half of the last century when a number of large dams were built throughout the country, so that water would be available to power the turbines that make the electricity. At present wind power is the most popular development, harnessing the wind’s energy to produce power.

Wave and tidal power get their energy from the sea and there are a number of projects in various stages of development which will hopefully soon be producing power. Solar energy comes from the sun has always powered the planet, particularly the growth of plants. It is now used to heat water for heating, or create power from photo voltaic cells on roofs and in large arrays in countries with a lot of sun.

Power from biomass is basically extracting energy by burning waste, high energy crops or quick growing wood, for example willow. Heat pumps take the heat from surround air of soil and rock, and delivers it to either the air within a building or to water that is then circulated round radiators.

Another form of power, used extensively in some part of Europe is combined heat and power. This is where the heat created when power is generated is used to heat power plant’s neighbouring districts.

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