Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Kinlochleven Hydro-Electric Station

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1904 British Aluminium Co appointed P. W. and C. S. Meik to engineer the Kinlochleven Hydro-electric Scheme project in the western Highlands of Scotland, in order to provide a large and continuous supply of electricity for aluminium refining.

1905 Parliamentary approval was gained for the project; work began on the dam, power station and aluminium factory. William Thomson Halcrow gained his first experience of hydro-electric work on this project as assistant resident engineer.

The scheme involved the construction of the Blackwater concrete gravity dam. It was built in rugged and inaccessible terrain. In addition 6 km of concrete aqueduct and nearly 13 km of steel pipe were required. The height of the dam was only 27m but its length of 948m made it one of the longest dams then in existence.

WWI and WWII The aluminium production from Kinlochelven proved to be an invaluable asset in the world wars.

The smelting works has now been closed and been mostly demolished. The power station produces electricity for the aluminium smelter in Fort William, supplementing the supply from the Lochaber Water Power Scheme. Any surplus is sold to the National Grid.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Halcrow Group [1]