Following the creation of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in 2002, residents of Callander – the area’s largest town – established the Callander Community Development Trust (CCDT). The objective of the trust was to regenerate the town whilst benefiting the community and region. Following consultation with local people, the trust put together a community action plan. The trust’s board recognised that the area’s natural resources could generate revenue for the local economy and that hydro power was the obvious answer. By generating hydro-electric energy for sale to the National Grid, the CCDT could make the town more sustainable and less reliant on external funding. The first step towards creating the hydro-electric scheme was to secure funding. CCDT applied to Social Investment Scotland (SIS) and received £1.9million. Further investment was also secured from Scottish Investment Bank and Triodos Bank, in addition to grant funding from EU Leader and the Scottish Government. Callander Community Hydro is now one of the first community-led hydro schemes in Scotland. The ’run-of-river’ system diverts water from Stank Burn into a turbine house to generate electricity before returning it to the burn further downstream. Electricity was first generated and sold to the National Grid in September 2014, and the scheme is anticipated to produce £3 million of investments over the next 20 years. The people of Callander have already begun to see the benefits. The Trust has so far distributed £80,000 from the Hydro Fund to community projects and part-funds the Callander Town Coordinator who brings community groups together and helps manage the fund.
Scotsman 23rd May 2018 read more »