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.