Easter Holidays

Since the last entry in the blog ‘visible progress’ has been on holiday. We have our control panel in place, a connection to the grid and a broadband link; we need now a turbine and a generator too. However the turbine and generator, currently stored in Kilsyth, are now scheduled to be moved into the building on 20th April, the delay being largely due to the availability of certain key people. 

Control Cabinet and Grid Connection

Control Cabinet and Grid Connection

SEIS Threshold passed

In November the project spend reached the point where Harlaw Hydro could apply to HMRC for acceptance into the Seed Enterprise investment Scheme (SEIS).  The paperwork was submitted to HMRC and they responded with a bundle of blank SEIS3 forms, one for each member in the first share issue.  Harlaw Hydro has completed its part of the forms and they are being distributed to the relevant members.

This milestone allows us to issue the second tranche of share certificates, these too have been prepared and are being distributed to the relevant members.

Progress Report – Christmas

SJB continues to make good progress with the civil work.  Most of the pipework is in place, along with two thrust blocks which will ensure the pipes stay in place when the water is turned on.

The concrete for the turbine chamber has been poured and three drains have been laid to make sure ground water doesn’t build up behind the structures.

Concrete is a major and vital constituent of the construction but supply has been very difficult; concrete has never been available when required nor in the quantity required.  However the quality of work appears to be excellent and only one more major concrete pour is still to come.  If all goes to plan electricity will be generating in March, but there is plenty of work to be done before then.


The Shuttering in place – all we need is concrete


First thrust block complete and the chamber for the release valve poured.

The two thrust blocks plus 600mm pipe

Concrete being poured for the turbine chamber.

IMG_1898The turbine chamber


Work has Started!!

At long last work is underway. The contractor, SJB Construction Services Ltd, has created an access road, laid the cable ducting in the Visitor Centre Garden and started work on the connection with the outflow pipe.

The Victorians left us with a brick built stilling chamber that was designed to last.

Empty Settling Chamber - Ready to go?

Empty Settling Chamber – Ready to go?

The engineer’s instructions were to partially demolish by hand but despite more than 150 years in the water hands and even a hammer drill made no impression.

Hammer and Chisel won't do

Hammer and Chisel won’t do

A large hydraulic hammer was needed, as it was for the man hole built about the same time.

If it can crack concrete it can surely manage Victorian brick

If it can crack concrete it can surely manage Victorian brick

Finally after much digging and careful measurement of heights we have a hole but there is a solid base to build on.

Stilling Chamber removed and bed rock reached.  Next is a concrete base, thrust block and pipework.

Stilling Chamber removed and bed rock reached.

Next is a concrete base, thrust block and pipework.


Golden Spade event at Harlaw Reservoir

The sun peeked out and we had a dry day for our Golden Spade event up at Harlaw Reservoir on Wednesday 3rd September. Around 50 people came along; a mixture of shareholders, BVT and HH Directors, the new BVT staff and several professionals from CEC and other organisations who have supported our efforts on this project for the last 5 years. Thank you for coming along!

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Cllr Donald Wilson, came to officially cut the first sods that signal the start of work this week up at the reservoir. We also had the fantastic P3s from Dean Park Primary School to entertain and impress, led by the ever able Mrs Pamela Watson (they feature at the start of the video- link below). Definitely added a lovely touch to the whole event.

This is the start of our building phase. Cllr Wilson is especially keen on our project as he was part of the team who originally pushed for a City of Edinburgh Council assessment of the hydro potential of the Water of Leith. Now, almost 7 years later, the community that sits closest to the most viable option up at Harlaw are making it happen. It feels good!

The Technical team are still at the helm of this project. The work for us now ramps up a gear as we keep all the plates spinning on the build (we have engaged a Clerk of Works to manage the on-site developments), the connection to the Grid and any other issues that arise as we go along.

We will post up photos of progress as we go along,