It is almost a year to the day since the first share sale was launched for Mull’s Garmony hydro-scheme, and since then over 200 people have become investors.
The Garmony Hydro scheme, a first for the island, is intended to reduce its carbon footprint by taking advantage of one of the most abundant resources available on Mull – rainfall. Once the scheme is operational Green Energy Mull (GEM) hopes it will generate sufficient electricity to meet the needs of 230 homes on Mull, by harnessing the 320KW ‘run of river‘ hydro electric power on the burn near to the Garmony settlement overlooking the Sound of Mull. The Hydro scheme is on land owned by the Forestry Commission, and by gaining a majority of island votes in support for the scheme last February, GEM was able to lease the land from the Commission.
As the scheme is progressing well through the construction phase there is still time to become a share holder, but GEM will have to call a halt to investments soon. They have smashed our initial target of raising £330,000. The totaliser sits today at over £450,000 which is a staggering amount of money. This is a great scheme and one that will help to improve the lives of islanders for many years to come.
As well as generating clean, renewable energy, the scheme will produce income which will benefit Mull and Iona by providing:
- seedcorn funding for other community renewable energy and energy conservation projects
- funding for the support provided by the Community Trust to individuals and groups on the island
- direct funding for a whole range of island groups and events projects (e.g. Village shows, Mull Rally, Village Halls)
Since work commenced on site back in May a, huge amount has happened and the scheme is progressing well. The primary intake is almost complete. This has required much digging and rock breaking and dodging the bad weather. The 800 metre long pipe that will take the water from the intake to the turbine has been delivered, welded together and is now being buried in a trench. Work on the turbine house has now been started and the foundations are being laid. All the contractors and suppliers involved with Garmony Hydro are doing their absolute best, and it is hoped that commissioning will take place during January 2015.
Budget for this project is tight and any additional income that can be raised will mean that GEM do not have to seek additional loan finance if necessary. If you have already invested in GEM, you are more than welcome to invest further. With bank interest rates still so low, this is still a good scheme to be involved with. The weather over the last few weeks has been especially wet and it is grand to think that soon GEM will be able to harness this rain and make some money out of it for the communities of Mull and Iona.
A share Prospectus can be downloaded from the Garmony hydro website.