Gala Water hydro scheme secures funding
A project to harness the power of a Borders river to generate energy has secured more than £1.5m in funding.
It will see a series of hydro-electric generators placed on the Gala Water in Galashiels.
The people behind the project said it was an "exciting revival" of the use of the river from the times of the old textile mills.
It will initially create 150kW of power although it is hoped that could rise to up to 400kW in the longer term.
It could ultimately meet the needs of about 1,000 homes in the town.
The funding has come from the Scottish government via the Energy Saving Trust and Local Energy Challenge Fund.
'Power our future'
Hans Waltl, of BCAA Accountants who are managing the project finances for Gala Water Hydro, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have successfully been awarded this grant funding which is testament to the hard work and vision of the Gala Water Hydro team who want to restore these historic lades and caulds to ensure our past also becomes our future.
"Our aim is that, in decades to come, a high proportion of the power generated in Galashiels will come from Gala Water Hydro or other renewable sources, assisting fuel poverty in the town, helping start up businesses and generating renewed pride in the town.
"The Gala Water that runs through our town which power the historic mills will now power our future."
MP Calum Kerr said he had always been delighted to support the scheme.
"The project was first brought to my attention not long after I was elected and I've followed its development closely," he said.
"So the news of this award is a cause for celebration on a number of levels - it's a way of bringing a key part of the town's heritage back to life, it will engage the community and the work will be delivered by a Borders firm.
"I'd encourage everyone in the town to get behind this scheme."
He said he hoped other Borders towns with similar waterways could develop schemes too.
Jennifer Ramsay, Challenge Fund project manager, said: "Local Energy Scotland is delighted to be able to provide support through the Scottish government's Local Energy Challenge Fund to these innovative and inspirational projects.
"We are looking forward to working with the project teams over the next couple of years to see these ground-breaking ideas become a reality."