Community Developments

We are proud to have worked with a number of communities over recent years across a wide spectrum of scheme sizes from the tens of kilowatts to the largest community development in the UK. Our roles have been wide ranging from whole catchment area feasibility studies to detailed design and commissioning.

Community projects bring a unique set of challenges, not least supporting the decision making and fund raising processes. We are therefore particularly proud of our role in the Barr River hydropower scheme which is set to become the largest community-owned hydroelectric project in the British Isles. The scheme is located on the Morvern peninsula and has an installed capacity of 1.6MW with a capital budget in excess of £7m. See the case studies below for more information.

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Angus Robertson

Director, Morven Community Development Company


We are able to provide assistance from conception to operation including site finding, feasibility assessment, design, funding support and construction management.

Our overriding approach to community projects is to remain objective and to keep a broad overview of the project risk and viability. Commercial developers are used to targeting their work to minimise development expenditure, consider project risk and deliver projects quickly; communities often lack this kind of expertise or experience in project development, therefore we are able to bring the development mindset to the team, if required. Sadly it is sometimes necessary to conclude that a project is not viable or is too high risk, this can be difficult for communities when much time and emotion has been invested in the early stages. On these occasions we are used to presenting the facts, options and risks to facilitate the community to make their own informed decision about proceeding further.

Grid connections

One area of project development that can be very complex for communities to negotiate is the grid connection. We have been involved in a number of projects that have required complex connections involving significant reinforcement work, capacity constraints and active network management. We are used to pushing the grid operator to provide information and consider alternatives and have extensive experience of private wire networks, which can help overcome grid constraints and maximise the value of the scheme generation.


We have worked closely with Local Energy Scotland and the CARES team to fund the early stages of project development. We have detailed experience of commercial financing via the Barr River hydro scheme plus our own developments and are used to working with specialists to secure a variety of funding structures including project finance from banks and community share schemes.

One of the most important considerations for communities is ensuring that the funding that is secured is sufficient to deliver the project. It is rare that a community will have the means to raise additional funds in the middle of a construction project, should the need arise. Developing a realistic budget and understanding construction risk is crucial to ensuring that sufficient funding is obtained, while avoiding making the project unviable should the construction cost inflate.

Preparing for operation

For communities that are fortunate enough to have a viable project, the construction phase of the project is an exciting time. It’s important that the community also focus on preparing for the responsibility of managing a complex asset and ensuring that income is received as soon as possible. Our experience as a developer and our portfolio of operational projects allow us to provide comprehensive advice on the arrangements to be put in place, not only technical but also commercial and administrative. Our approach to operational support ensures that we can respond to the community’s preference to take on tasks themselves or to subcontract.