A Scottish hydro power scheme which could produce enough power for over 800 homes each year has been officially opened.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited the new jointly owned £3.5million project in Glen Fyne, Argyll to see it in action.
It is now connected to the national grid, and it is estimated it will produce around 3.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) each year, which is equivalent to the annual consumption of over 800 homes.
The project has been developed by four partners, including Here We Are, a community organisation which aims to assist development and sustainability of the local community.
Mr Swinney said: “Scotland was one of the first countries to harness power from its waters and the world’s first to develop hydro power.
“We have the capacity to do much more with our wonderful hydro resource, to generate clean power and store the vast power of renewables.
“Merk Hydro, which has been driven forward in part by the local community, is a prime example of a community working with the renewables industry – where all stakeholders stand to benefit from greater partnership working in bringing forward renewable energy projects.
“The Scottish Government believes this approach offers Scotland the opportunity for improved community empowerment, a leading and respected renewable energy industry, and increased local economic and social benefits.”
Christina Noble, from community organisation Here We Are, said: “Today is the culmination of nine years of effort. We are proud that Mr Swinney has come to celebrate with us the opening of a scheme that many within the sector considered could not be built, so it was nearly impossible to finance it.
“We look forward to wet days ahead when, rather than bemoaning the rain, we’ll be anticipating the revenue it generates.”