Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Familiarisation Trip July 22

It was a pleasure to host some of our Board members who were keen to find out more about the range of work we do at the Energy Agency.

Starting out at the Nethermills Hydro Scheme and finishing at the External Wall Insulation project in Tarbolton, we were thankful the weather was kind to us and hope our directors found the visit worthwhile.


Thursday, 7 October 2021

East Ayrshire Council Free Renewable Heating Offer

If you live in East Ayrshire, have no mains gas and council tax band A-D, you may be eligible for a free renewable energy heating system and insulation. To find out more about this scheme funded by Scottish Government and East Ayrshire Council phone our project team on 01292 525 535.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Scottish Minister Richard Lochhead visits Nethermills Hydro Scheme

Richard Lochhead, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work visited the Nethermills Hydro Scheme in Ayr this week. The hydro scheme, currently under construction, is owned by Energy Agency Renewables, a subsidiary of the Energy Agency.

The Minister was very enthusiastic about the project describing it as inspirational and innovative. He highlighted how Scotland was going through a major transformation and hopes that projects like this spread across the country will make a difference to Scotland’s route to a ‘net zero’ future.  He said “Ensuring a just transition to net zero – making sure we take action against climate change in a way that is fair and benefits everyone across the country – is fundamentally important, and the work that has been undertaken to develop the Nethermills Hydro Scheme is a great example of the collective, inclusive approach we must take.

I was very pleased to hear that the power generated from the Scheme will be used in a way which benefits education facilities in the local area, and the wider community, and look forward to the completion of the project bringing many benefits to the people of Ayrshire”

This was followed up with a visit to Annbank where a housing improvement programme is taking place.  Insulation is being installed to improve the warmth and comfort of householders and to lower their fuel bills.  Residents were delighted the Minister took time to ask them for feedback on the improvements to their homes.

Liz Marquis, Director of Energy Agency said “The Energy Agency was delighted the Minister visited these ground breaking schemes.  We are very grateful to all our partners, in particular SEPA, Ayrshire Rivers Trust and Ayrshire College who have helped make the Nethermills hydro scheme a reality. Future income will be spent on projects to alleviate fuel poverty for the next 50 years.  External wall insulation projects funded by the Scottish Government help transform homes and reduce carbon emissions whilst lowering fuel bills. This is so important across Scotland for health, wellbeing and transforming communities”.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Energy Agency wins at National Energy Awards

 We're delighted to announce our second award win this month at the prestigious national Energy Awards.

The Energy Agency won Residential Energy Project of the Year for the 2nd time and was praised by the expert judging panel, drawn from across the energy sector.

The results were revealed on the 22nd September at the esteemed Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane in London. The event was compered by comedian Hal Cruttenden. 

The award was entered in partnership with the local authorities of South and East Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway and NHS Ayrshire & Arran for its external wall insulation programmes and health monitoring.

Click here for more on the Energy Awards 

        Pictured: Hal Cruttenden and Alan McGonigle, Deputy Director of Energy Agency

Energy Agency wins an award at Scotland Energy Efficiency Awards

We're delighted to have won first prize at the Scotland Energy Efficiency Awards for Large Scale Project of the Year.  The award was entered in partnership with the local authorities of South and East Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway and NHS Ayrshire & Arran for its external wall insulation programmes and health monitoring. 

The award was presented at an award dinner held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow.  It recognises excellence in large scale projects that help householders reduce their energy bills, tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.  It also recognises excellent customer service and quality workmanship. The award was sponsored by Crossgates Gas Services & Maintenance Ltd. 

Left picture: Andrew Filby ABS Project Manager and Liz Marquis, Director of Energy Agency

Thursday, 17 June 2021

February update on Nethermills Hydro Scheme


Since the corn mill at Nethermills was demolished in the 1950s at least 20 Gigawatt hours of useable energy have passed over the weirs in the centre of Ayr.  The Energy Agency commissioned a hydrological study in 2015 followed by a feasibility and design study by Mann Power Hydro Ltd. The result is the current construction project by Energy Agency Renewables Ltd, with TLS Renewable Consulting Ltd as project manager and Bailey Contracts Ltd as civils contractor.

The fish-friendly, 4-metre-diameter Archimedes screw will generate up to 85 kilowatts and a total of 320 megawatt hours in a typical year. Revenue from feed-in tariff and electricity sales will be used to maintain the system, the surplus supporting the fuel-poverty-and-carbon-reducing activities of the non-profit Energy Agency. 

Features of the scheme:

A hydro scheme providing 100% green electricity is in keeping with South Ayrshire Council’s long-term development plan to regenerate the riverside area in a sustainable way and contribute towards the Council’s Carbon Management Plan

Local benefits include a source of carbon-free electricity and funds for local projects by the Energy Agency

The turbine will be a local attraction on the River Ayr Way, displaying information on renewable energy generation to passers by

The scheme design, including new smolt chutes and eel passes, will assist the passage of migratory salmon and eels and the installation of a fish counter in the existing fish pass will benefit the management of the River Ayr catchment fishery

The scheme will prevent the emission of an estimated 147 tonnes of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas annually and continue to generate green energy for many decades, just as the watermills did from the 13th to 20th centuries

Where are we now - 15 February 2022

The hydro scheme passed its grid connection testing today and video shows the turbine turning and generating electricity.

Work has continued onsite throughout December, January and into February 2022.  The civil construction contract was extended to 11th February 2022 to allow remaining works to complete following high water events throughout the autumn and winter months.

The powerhouse and concrete construction along with the turbine are all in place. The site currently has:

Reinforced concrete construction fully complete

·       All grouting and concreting works in and around the turbine base and by-wash gate complete

·       The Archimedes screw, connected to its gearbox and generator

·       The bywash gate and its hydraulic ram

·       The sluice gate

·       Some of the eel and lamprey ladders

·       Cabling connection from College building to powerhouse complete

·       The electronic control equipment installed

·       Fully installed roof including substructure and sedum roof

·       The security fencing, complete with 1 additional section to be fitted

·       All final adjustments to the turbine and by-wash gate by Vandezande engineers – mostly complete

·       Reinstatement of river bank and walkway – mostly complete

·       Successful withdrawal of all cofferdams

·       All scaffolds removed

·       All powerhouse decking and steps installed

 Work Planned for February 2022:

·       Installation of smolt chutes and remaining eel and lamprey ladders

·      Final visit by Vandezande engineers.

·       Extra section of security fence installed.

·       CCTV security system installed on the powerhouse.

·       The fish counter installation by Fishtek on behalf of Marine Scotland Science

·       Display boards are being designed/prepared by Ayrshire College

·       Official opening taking place 28th February 2022.

 After benefiting earlier in the project from an unusually dry summer, the contractors encountered significant difficulties caused by high water levels during Autumn and Winter 2021. This situation only occurred because of a delay of a month in the delivery of the turbine equipment from Belgium due to the steel supply chain problems linked to COVID-19-related fluctuations in global demand.

This has resulted in the final installation phases being delayed into the autumn and winter.  High levels of rainfall over this time resulted in river levels rising rapidly affecting the progress of works. It had been our earlier intention through careful project planning to avoid this period, but with the delays encountered with steel shortages we inevitably ran into this difficult weather season.

Ultimately this has resulted in the civil construction completion date being extended initially to the end of January then further into mid-February 2022.

The contractors have worked tirelessly throughout to meet challenging demands and weekly progress meetings have been held to ensure we remain on-track for our official ‘opening’ at the end of February and electricity generation by March 2022.  The civil contractors, Bailey Construction Ltd, have been working their way through finishing touches and are progressing through a comprehensive ‘snag-list’. Their sub-contracted roof specialists Skygarden installed the sedum roof over two days in late January.

The smolt/eel/lamprey works that were scheduled for this week have again been delayed until the water levels recede, likely w/c 14th February.

The Vandezande engineers have completed most of their commissioning works on the screw and by-wash gate, with a final visit expected w/c 14th February. 

The electrical contractor TLS Renewable Consulting Ltd and their sub-contractors have completed most of the installation of the control system. Testing of this began on 3rd February and is ongoing in readiness for the G99 grid-connection test with SPEN on 15th February.  A short test allowing water to flow through and turn the turbine for the first time took place successfully on 7th February

We remain confident that we will achieve successful completion well in advance of the final commissioning deadline of 18th March 2022.


Monday, 12 April 2021

Priority Services Register

Scotland's electricity distribution and water networks have joined forces to launch PSR Scotland, an innovative partnership to inform customers of the free support available when they need it most.

By joining the register you receive advanced warning to planned interruptions of electricity and water supply along with many other advantages.

Customers are eligible to register if they are deaf or hard of hearing, have a disability, live with children under five, are blind or partially sighted, have a chronic illness, are over 60, depend on electricity or water for home or medical care, or they feel they may need additional support, even for a temporary period of time.

To find out more or to apply go to the Priority Services Register website