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Minister celebrates Scotland's Hydroelectric Power

22 June 2010

Scotland’s work to generate power from renewable sources – long before climate change became a globally important issue – is being celebrated in a book looking at the development of hydroelectric power.

Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop is launching Power to the People – The built heritage of Scotland’s hydroelectric power in Perth at a conference looking at the people, engineering and architecture that created a vibrant energy sector.

The Minister said: “We have huge reasons to be proud of Scotland’s hydroelectric energy sector. We have taken our natural resources and used them responsibly to establish ourselves as an energy creator and exporter through our vision, ambition and engineering skill.

“As we look to the future and our commitment to greener energy sources, it is important to recognise how much has already been achieved.”

In 2008, around 12 per cent of the gross power consumed in the UK was generated by Scottish hydroelectric power.

The book and conference are the result of a study of hydroelectric power-related buildings and structures by Historic Scotland.

When it began, the area represented just eleven buildings protected for their special architectural or historic interest. The public is now being consulted on plans to extend this protection to 38 more buildings identified in the research.

The conference and the proposed listings are part of an attempt to use the hydroelectric power industry as a model of how commerce and conservation can work in partnership.

The Minister added: “Historic Scotland, the industry and local authorities are working together to find practical ways to celebrate and promote its heritage as an asset – especially in tough economic times.

“We can all share in the pride of what we have achieved through our ambitious approach to hydroelectric power and look to it for inspiration as we continue to lead the way in making the most of our greener energy resources.”

Norwegian delegates from the country’s Museum of Hydropower and Water Resources and Energy Directorate will be attending the conference, with Dr Randi Bartvedt giving a presentation on the international context of Scottish hydroelectric power.

Other speakers will include civil engineer and former partner of Mott MacDonald James Arthur; Neil Lannen, senior civil engineer with Scottish and Southern Energy; Richard Wallis, civil engineer, Rio Tinto Alcan, and Architecture, Industry and Maritime Operational Manager of the Royal Commission for the Historical and Ancient Monuments Scotland, Neil Gregory.

Following a morning of presentations, delegates will be taken on a tour of the Tummel Valley hydroelectric scheme and power stations.

Images from the book are available from the Historic Scotland photo library on 0131 668 8647/ 8785 or by emailing

Notes for editors

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

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For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768100