Cauld power set to flow by next summer

The Cauld  in flood.
The Cauld in flood.

a £1.3million scheme to introduce the Borders’ first hydroelectric plant is expected to be up and running by next summer.

The project at Murray’s Cauld on the Ettrick Water, which involves the use of an Archimedes’ screw turbine, was approved earlier this month after a year in the planning process.

It is expected to generate 0.8MW for the National Grid, powering more than 200 homes.

Sir Michael Strang Steel, owner of Philiphaugh Estate, which is behind the renewable initiative, said: “I am highly delighted. It has been a long old struggle, but we are very excited and hopefully by this time next year the plant will be up and running.”

Work continues on the 166-year-old cauld, but bad weather continues to hamper contractors Rodger Builders.

Sir Michael added: “It has been difficult working on the cauld this summer due to the constant high water levels.

“We got a good amount of work done before the weather turned bad, but it has been difficult since then as whenever we have tried to set the concrete the river has gone up again.

“But Rodger Builders have worked hard to meet all the demands of the agencies involved.”

As well as repairing the cauld and creating green energy, the project includes a state-of-the-art salmon pass to replace the previous Victorian-built facility for the fish to get up the river.

Sir Michael added: “We have tried to look after all the environmental possibilities.

“There will also be a flat valve above the cauld to control the flow of water through the old mill lade. We want to conserve the 150-year-old eco-system created by the cauld.”

Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar added: “I am really pleased that a natural resource is going to be used to create power and cut down on our carbon footprint. It is a brilliant scheme.”