In praise of cinnamon buns and hydro power

I’ve just discovered something quite wonderful. Apparently the smell of cinnamon buns has been shown to increase blood flow to the penis. Just joking! I mean, it is true apparently, but that’s not the wonderful thing I want to talk about. It was just a cheap shot to get your attention 🙂

Perhaps not quite as exciting as an erect penis but still pretty good is a community-led hydro project in Scotland which was launched last year. The village of Callander, in Stirling, has approval to build 36 run-of-river hydro power plants within Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. They’ve already built 11 which are now operational and generating electricity. The electricity is sold back to the national grid with the proceeds going to the community in Callander.

They raised £1.9 million in funding for the project and although this has to be repaid, they still anticipate making £3 million over 20 years which is pretty good for a small village of fewer than 3,000 people. It’s also expected to generate 1.3 – 1.4 gigawatt hours per year.

A run-of-river hydro scheme is not something I’ve heard of before and is different to the large hydro power stations I am aware of like Lake Tekapo in New Zealand and Snowy Mountains Hydro in Australia. This one is very sympathetic to the landscape and doesn’t involve creating dams or reservoirs. From what I understand, water is diverted from the river where it flows down a buried pipe, spins a turbine which generates electricity, and then returns to the river downstream. It’s explained in more detail on the community website:

Both the rivers running through Aberdeen, the Dee and Don, I imagine would be good for schemes like this. Aberdeen seems to be so full of clever, thoughtful, diverse, and talented people that I’m sure it must have the man-power to get something like this off the ground. Indeed I don’t think I’ve ever lived anywhere before with such a lovely community feel to it and with so many people with all sorts of skills.