With thanks to Aberdeen Community Energy (ACE).
Donside Hydro is a community built hydro scheme, on the river Don adjacent to the site of Donside Papermill, where there is now an urban village.
It is Scotland’s first urban community hydro scheme (most others are situated in isolated parts of the
In 2013 Local residents formed a resident’s association, now called Donside Village Community SCIO (DVC), and from this association, ACEnergy (a not for profit, community benefit society) was formed.
For anyone interested in visiting Scotland’s first Urban Community Hydro Scheme, a tour is being conducted on Thursday May 18 ( details below).
ACEnergy (whose 5 directors all live in the village and are members of the DVC, bar one) went on to create the £1.2 million Donside Hydro Scheme, which has been successfully funded through share and bond offers.
The scheme has won a number of awards since operations began last September, including the best Community Project at the Scottish Green Energy awards in December.
Whilst the turbine is fully operational, and we have been producing electricity since 21st Sept 2016 and are meeting all projected targets, the landscaping is ongoing and there is still a bit of work to be done. We have just finished planting over 500 trees on our newly created island and further landscaping will take place over the next year. This will include the building of a bridge across to the island, and ensuring that as much of the area as possible is wheelchair accessible.
Profits from the scheme will be given to the share holders and bond holders, who have helped to finance the scheme, but a percentage of the profits will be returned to the community association, and this will be used to further develop the area and create a lovely public amenity for all who come to this part of the Don. However, this will not happen until the first full year of production at the earliest.
The DVC is working with the Scottish Government’s Scottish Land Fund to purchase the land surrounding the Donside Hydro. The aim is deliver a park for locals and visitors of all ages to play, explore, recreate and educate.
We are at stage 2 of our application and it is progressing well. However, the Scottish Land Fund are unable to fully finance any land purchases and can only give us 90% of the value of the land. We are not yet in a position to access any funds from the electricity production, as stated above, so this means we will have to find the remaining monies ourselves.
We are currently fund raising at every opportunity to raise the necessary cash (e.g. all profits from our Spring Fayre has gone toward the land purchase, people from the village are running the 10k to raise money etc).
We are also seeking alternative ways of funding and have started to charge for seminars and tours, where it is reasonable to do so, whilst keeping in mind our desire to make the hydro as accessible as possible to all. Therefore we are asking groups who ‘have a budget’ to make a set fee. For those that do not we are asking individuals who attend to make a donation in order for us to be able to purchase the land and develop it for all.
The bottom line is, we want people to be able to come and see the hydro and hear our story. We do not want money to be a prohibitive factor, but we want to be able to purchase the land!
We look forward to seeing you soon……
Visit the first Urban Community Hydro Scheme!
On Thursday 18th May at 7pm please join Aberdeenshire Environmental Forum on their visit to the first urban community hydro scheme which is a 100Kw Archimedes screw by the banks of the River Don by Tillydrone, Aberdeen. Come and find out how this scheme works and environmental issues that need to considered in such schemes.
The visit is free but donations to the scheme are most welcome.
Please book a place on this tour by telephoning or texting 07799658209 as limited spaces and to organise lift sharing opportunities.
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