NEW IDEAS FOR PROVEN RESOURCES
International Conference and Exhibition
16 - 18 October 2023
Edinburgh International Congress Centre (EICC), Scotland
HYDRO 2023 MISSION
As always, the main aim of bringing together the global hydropower community is to exchange practical experience, learn of new technical developments (of which there are plenty), encourage best practice, and together play a role in advancing hydro development in the parts of the world which need it most. Besides new schemes, emphasis is also placed on maximizing the value of existing hydro assets, by timely refurbishment, upgrading and improving operational efficiency. These annual events are probably the most truly international conferences devoted specifically to hydropower; and, in nonCOVID times, we welcome at least 1200 delegates from more than 70 countries. We will focus on potential and development plans, the changing roles of hydropower, adapting to new challenges, ensuring safety and operational efficiency, and environmental protection, among many other topics. A major technical exhibition will run alongside the conference, showcasing the state-of-the-art of hydro technology and engineering, with many products and services on display. We encourage young engineers and students to attend, and student registration rates will be available on request. The AMI Hydropower Foundation will consider assisting some delegates from less developed countries, or those facing economic challenges, to attend, by supporting registration and accommodation costs. See: https://www.hydropower-dams.com/foundation.
EDINBURGH AS HOST CITY
Edinburgh has been Scotland's capital since the 15th century and is steeped in history. It is compact and hilly, with many magnificent views and buildings. It comprises a medieval Old Town and an elegant Georgian New Town with gardens and neoclassical buildings. The two contrasting townscapes, which give the city its unique character, are together listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Towering over the city is Edinburgh Castle, a former fortress and royal residence. It is home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny - once used in the coronation of Scotland’s monarchs. Other sites include the Palace of Holyroodhouse, St. Giles’ Cathedral, and Canongate and Greyfriars churches. Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the highest courts in Scotland. The city has long been a centre of education, particularly in the fields of science and engineering, medicine, law, literature and philosophy. Edinburgh has world class hotels available in all categories, mostly within easy walking distance of the EICC. Rooms will be blocked at favourable prices for delegates, and can be booked at the time of registration. There will be a cultural tour for all participants on 15 October, so that there will be an opportunity for everyone to see the city’s most famous sites of interest. Then there will be a package of tours for accompanying persons, in and around the city during the conference days.
SCOTLAND’S HYDROPOWER HERITAGE
The role of Scottish hydropower
Scotland produces around 85 per cent of the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) hydropower, with an installed capacity of about 1650 MW at conventional hydro plants and 740 MW at pumped-storage plants. It has 78 large dams and 54 medium/large hydro plants, with more than 300 km of associated tunnels. More than 3000 MW of new pumped-storage capacity is currently being planned. Scotland is also a world leader in the development and deployment of wave and tidal energy technologies. It hosts: the world's leading wave and tidal test centre, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney; the world's largest tidal stream array; and the world's most powerful tidal stream turbine. Over the last century, Scottish hydropower played a major part in the country’s energy make up. While today hydro lags behind wind, solar and biomass as a source of renewable electricity in the UK, it played a vital role in connecting vast areas of rural Scotland to the power grid, some of which had no electricity as late as the 1960s. Soon,new pumped-storage schemes will integrate perfectly with the increasing use of intermittent renewables.
History and milestones
At the end of 19th century, Scotland’s first known hydro scheme was built on the shores of Loch Ness at the Fort Augustus Benedictine abbey. The scheme provided power to the monks as well as 800 village residents. The huge potential of Scotland’s steep mountains, lochs and reliably heavy rainfall to generate substantial amounts of hydropower was first recognised in the 1890s. A reliable source of electricity was needed to help turn raw bauxite into aluminium, and the Foyers hydro plant and smelting works were developed. But it was another 20 years before the first major hydro project to supply electricity to the public was designed. In 1926, the Lanark hydro scheme was commissioned, on the River Clyde. It still operates with a capacity of 17 MW today. This was followed by plants at Rannoch and Tummel in the Grampian mountains and, in 1935, what became a highly influential scheme in the history of Scottish hydropower, at Galloway. Scotland’s first major pumped-storage plant was Cruachan, in Argyll, inaugurated by the Queen in 1965; the final unit was commissioned in 1967. This was the largest plant of its type in the world at that time. A major expansion project at the 440 MW plant is planned, which will add a new 600 MW underground plant. The most recent large hydro plant to be commissioned in Scotland was the 100 MW Glendoe scheme, in the Highlands above Loch Ness; it was commissioned in 2009. More recently, in 2021, RWE commissioned the 2 MW Glen Noe run-of-river small scheme.
Into the future
The next major developments will be the implementation of three large pumped-storage schemes. In 2021, the Scottish Government granted planning consent for the 450 MW Red John scheme, which will be built close to Inverness. Other planned pumped-storage schemes are: Glenmuckloch (400 MW) in Dumfries and Galloway; Eishken (300 MW), which will use seawater, on the Isle of Lewis; and, Coire Glass, in Lochaber in the Highlands, which will have a capacity of up to 1500 MW. Scottish and other UK hydropower and dam engineers have much experience to share, as well as future plans to discuss.
Working in collaboration with hydro plant owners and operators in Scotland, we are planning some short technical visits, as well as post-conference tours, and details will be announced shortly. These will be designed to showcase Scottish experience in large and small hydro, pumped storage development, and hydraulic research.