In 2009 members of Balerno Village Trust (BVT) approached the City of Edinburgh Council to discuss the possibility of installing a small hydroelectric generator at the outflow of Harlaw reservoir.
1.11.09 – Funding for Feasibility Study by Renewable Device Energy Solutions Confirmed: Balerno Village Trust (BVT) were pleased to announce that Community Energy Scotland had awarded £6,000 to 5 local communities for a micro-hydro feasibility study on the Water of Leith. This initial pilot study includes Harlaw (through BVT), Redbraes (through Greener Leith), Mossy Mill (CEC), Harperig (through Kirknewton Development Trust) and Dean Village.
These 5 sites were analysed for their generation potential but at this stage only the Harlaw site was deemed to be commercially viable. The turbine will should provide a small income, by selling green energy to the Grid, that can then be invested in further community developments.
2011 – A second Feasibility Study carried out by Highland Eco-Design Ltd, confirmed the viability of a micro-hydroelectric scheme using the outflow from Harlaw Reservoir.
The project could also play an exciting role as a demonstration and educational resource for local schools and colleges and the general public. Historically the Water of Leith has been used to power mills built during the Industrial Revolution. It thus seems fitting to re-harness that power potential to provide valuable green energy today.