In 1943, only one in a hundred crofts in the Scottish Highlands had access to an electricity supply. This would rapidly change in just a few decades thanks to affordable electricity produced by hydropower stations. One of Scotland’s earliest hydropower plants was the Tummel Bridge Power Station, which was completed in 1933.
The Tummel Valley collects water from 1,800 square kilometers (690 sq mi) of the Grampian Mountains, with Tummel Bridge Hydro Power Station receiving water from Dunalastair Reservoir and discharging into Loch Tummel. Water travels by aqueduct and pipeline approximately three miles from the dam to the power station, which contains its original Francis turbines.
As it was thought to be a possible target during World War II, the power station was fitted with an air raid shelter and enormous blackout blinds, both of which are still in situ.
In August 2021, a plan was announced to equip Tummel Bridge with more efficient turbine technology. The current owner of the power station, SSE Renewables, said the £50-million update will increase the amount of power generated and extend the station’s life by several more decades. Work is expected to be done in late 2023, just in time for the power station’s 90th anniversary.