A Perthshire farm which produces some of Scotland’s highest quality wild venison and hill lamb, has secured its long-term future and is anticipating growth from a new stream after the powering up of a new hydro electric scheme, part funded by Clydesdale Bank.
Inverlochlarig, near Lochearnhead and within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, is a 10,000 acre hill farm which has been tended to by the same family since 1877. It is home to more than 3,500 Scottish Blackface and Cheviot Ewes and a herd of 100 cattle.
Last month owners switched on a new hydro electric scheme at the foot of Inverlochlarig burn, a course of water which feeds into Loch Doine, then Loch Voil and eventually the Firth of Forth.
The 100kw scheme, which was three years in the planning and development process, is now fully operational and providing power to the Inverlochlarig farm and into the national grid network, benefitting from the Feed in Tariff programme.
Clydesdale Bank’s Business & Private Banking Centre in Dundee provided 80 per cent of the funding with a six-figure support package arranged by commercial and agribusiness relationship manager Alex Young.
Malcolm McNaughton of Braes Farming Co said that the switching on of the new hydro scheme marked the culmination of many years of hard work and desire to use the natural resources around them.
He said: “For more than 15 years we have had a burning desire to harness the raw energy around us. Over the last couple of years, the technological developments and increase in Feed-In Tariffs have made it much more attractive for smaller-scale renewable energy schemes like this to be delivered.
“It also isn’t easy for funding for this type of scheme to be arranged, despite the obvious benefits to us as a business and the wider economy. However, Alex Young and Clydesdale Bank took the time to understand what we were trying to achieve and work with us at every stage of the development.”
Despite Malcolm’s long-held desire to install such a scheme, the real catalyst came at a renewable energy conference held at Perth Racecourse in March 2010 where Malcolm was introduced to renewable energy consultants Green Highland Renewables, who progressed the development through the planning stage. The scheme was designed and installed by civil engineers Campbell of Doune with Allt-Energy taking care of the mechanical and electrical side.
Alex Young, commercial and agribusiness relationship manager at Clydesdale Bank in Dundee, said: “Malcolm and the team at Inverlochlarig have identified an opportunity to diversify and capture the raw energy around them. The development of smaller scale renewable energy projects in terms of technology, planning, finance and advice, means they are much more accessible for farming businesses across Scotland.
“Inverlochlarig is already a thriving local business, proud of its heritage and its produce. The additional revenue stream generated by the hydro electric scheme will allow for further investment and growth.”