IN A NEW move to tackle climate change and air pollution, Ardtornish Estate in Morvern has introduced an electric vehicle charging point – powered from its own hydro turbine.
The charger is able to top up an average vehicle at 22KW per hour, drawing power from the neighbouring Archimedes screw turbine – another first for Lochaber – a low-head, high-volume hydro scheme that produces 100 kilowatts of power from 4.4 metres of water pressure (‘head’, in the technical term), which powers a 10-metre corkscrew over 2.5 metres wide, set at a 26- degree angle to the horizontal.
The scheme and charging point were formally opened in June at Achranich, Ardtornish, which now has more than 3MW of renewable hydro power, and is the largest employer in Morvern.
Ardtornish Estate Company chairman Dennis Overton, who drives a BMW I3 electric car, said: ‘ I’ve driven electric for three years now, and on all my previous trips to Ardtornish I’ve trickle charged over several hours from a normal three-pin power socket beside the estate office.
‘ Now I, and our other electric vehicle visitors can recharge – for no cost – in a fraction of the time, confident that the power we are using is locally-gen- erated and carbon free. Hydropower has already made a huge difference to Ardtornish, enabling us to invest in a wide range of building and infrastructure improvements, providing local community benefit, more employment, and better job security.
‘ This is a logical next step – prior to us moving our own estate vehicle fleet away from dirty fossil fuels and over to electric.’
Dennis Overton charges his car.