• Existing view of site 2.jpg

Energy Agency

Nethermills Hydro Scheme


Since the corn mill at Nethermills was demolished in the 1950s at least 20,700 megawatt hours of useable energy have passed over the two weirs in the centre of Ayr at a rate of 320MWh per annum, enough to power approximately 80 homes.

In 2015, the Energy Agency commissioned a hydrological study of the site.  Electronic level gauging took place over a six-month period, followed by a feasibility and design study by Mann Power Consulting Ltd.  The results indicated that a hydro power scheme on the north bank could generate up to 85 kilowatts, producing 50-85kW for around half of the time, and approximately 320 megawatt hours in a typical year.

In 2020 the Energy Agency set up a subsidiary company, Energy Agency Renewables Ltd, to install, own and operate the scheme on the site, to be named the Nethermills Hydro Scheme. 

Existing views of Nethermills Hydro site

Hydro Power Technology

Following a feasibility study, the technology considered most suitable for the sensitive site and providing the best financial return is an 85kW Archimedean single screw turbine. Meters and sensors connected to the generating set will measure the generation and flows and allow full, real-time monitoring and analysis of the performance of the system. The robust technology has an expected lifespan of around 50 years.

The scheme has been designed to minimise disruption to the ecology and fish habitat, improving the access for fish and eels migrating up and down the river.

The proposed design of the turbine powerhouse and mechanism will sympathetically blend into the environment, reflecting the colours of the nearby green hedge and river bank.

                                     CAD visions of the Nethermills Hydro Scheme consented design 

Electricity Generation

The power provided will be available for local use and export to the grid and will provide revenue by sale of the electricity.  

A grid connection has been granted by Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) for up to 100kW of export.

Feed in tariff

Official approval has been received from Ofgem for receiving the feed-in tariff. This guarantees a payment for every kWh generated and a minimum price for every unit exported to the grid. The tariffs will be linked to the Retail Price Index and paid for 20 years following commissioning.


The chosen contractors are all experienced providers of Archimedes screw systems. Mann Power Hydro Ltd has been appointed as Project Managers to oversee the design and construction of the hydro plant.

The engineering design of the project has been provided by TJ Booth Associates.

The appointed turbine manufacturer is Vandezande BVBA (Belgium).

The civil engineering contract to construct the power plant is being finalised.

Environmental Impacts

Impacts of construction works - A Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) Licence has been obtained from SEPA. It stipulates the environmental protection aspects of the installation works as well as ongoing abstraction limits and conditions.  A detailed Construction Method Statement will be drawn up by the appointed civils contractor to fulfil all conditions of the planning consent and CAR licence to ensure minimum negative impacts on the ground and ecology of the site. It will be the job of the project managers, together with the Energy Agency, to ensure the published method statement is adhered to, or adapted as necessary as the project progresses.

Fish Counter - To encourage further enhancement of the river environment a fish counter will be installed in the upper fish ladder.  This will be made possible by a power and web connection supplied from the turbine house.  Marine Scotland is funding the fish counter installation and ongoing monitoring and maintenance, in partnership with the Ayrshire Rivers Trust. Marine Scotland Science has awarded a design, supply and installation contract to Fishtek Consulting.

Archaeology - A report commissioned from a local registered Archaeologist states that all ground-works will be undertaken under close archaeological supervision. If any significant archaeology is discovered, the project may be held up whilst it is investigated. This has been added to the Register of Risks, although as the weirs were refurbished in 2007, it is not considered likely.

CO2 Savings - The 320MWh expected to be generated annually would save an estimated 147 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

Positive Impacts

The scheme should continue to generate green energy for many decades after its capital cost has been repaid. Future surplus funds can be used  for projects to reduce carbon and fuel poverty in South West Scotland

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

The project will raise awareness and understanding of the use of renewable energy technology

The site will be a local attraction displaying information to educate visitors

Where are we now? (15 Feb 22)

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:

  • The 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.

Cameras are situated on the nearby Ayrshire College building so time lapse footage of the site’s development is available here


Energy Agency

Website Privacy Statement

About the Energy Agency

The Energy Agency is a registered charity established in 1999. We provide free and impartial advice to households, businesses and communities in south west Scotland on:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainable transport

The Energy Agency is a “data controller” and this document explains how we process your information.

We manage a number of schemes. Please read the scheme below that applies to you.

What information do we collect from you?

For all of the schemes we gather your personal information which may include name, address, telephone numbers, email address, date of birth, age, sex, employment status, tenure, benefits, income, savings bracket, bank details, fuel expenditure, fuel type, how you pay your energy bills, third party details, number of dependent children under 18, signature.

Please read below to find out what other information we may collect for each scheme.

Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Schemes (EES:ABS)

  • Contact details: private landlord name, address, telephone number, email address
  •  Proof of benefits, proof of identity, number of household residents
  • Special category data: health status, disability status
  • Property details: age, construction type, insulation, heating pattern, council tax band, external photograph
  • From installers: business address, contact details, measures certified to install, accreditation/trade body membership

Research and Evaluation Project

  • Other information: occupancy patterns, use of the home, heating patterns, comfort levels, ventilation, satisfaction with the home, temperature and relative humidity measurements, gas and electricity meter readings and changes due to COVID-19
  • Special category data – (South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway only): SF-36 questionnaire responses, physical activities, long term health conditions, recent health service use, medication use, general changes in health, smoking and COVID-19
  • Property details: external photograph

Fuel Voucher Scheme

  • From Home Energy Scotland: Personal details: name, address, telephone number and email address

Sustainable Design & Construction CPD Programme

  • Personal details: name and email address

Why do we collect your Personal information?

Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Schemes (EES:ABS)

  • To process your application
  • To arrange and conduct a survey             
  • To arrange and carry out your  installation
  • To secure maximum funding for you
  • To verify your eligibility for the programme
  • For monitoring purposes
  • To administer loan if applicable
  • To gauge customer satisfaction
  • To recruit volunteers to take part in Research and Evaluation Project
  • To recruit volunteers to take part in a case study
  • To contact your landlord for permission to insulate your home  if you are a tenant

Research and Evaluation Project

  • To assess the benefits of your installation as part of the HEEPS:ABS scheme
  • To arrange pre-install and post-install research
  • To create a personal feedback report
  • To produce an evaluation report for the project partners
  • To recruit volunteers to take part in a case study

Fuel Voucher Scheme

  • To issue a voucher
  • To record data for monitoring purposes

Sustainable Design & Construction CPD Programme

  • To inform you of monthly seminars
  • To send your attendance certificate annually

Who might we share your information with?

Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Schemes (EES:ABS)

  • Scottish Government
  • East & South Ayrshire Council and Dumfries & Galloway Council
  • Energy Saving Trust/Home Energy Scotland
  • Housing Association
  • Insulation contractors
  • Surveying companies
  • Bierce Technical Surveys
  • The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) who will use and share your information in order to fulfil its statutory duties
  • The obligated energy supplier who will process data in accordance with their own privacy policies

Research and Evaluation Project

  • NHS Ayrshire & Arran (Public health)
  • South Ayrshire Council
  • East Ayrshire Council
  • South Lanarkshire Council
  • North Ayrshire Council and Registered Social Landlords (and appointed contractors)
  • Scottish Government
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Glasgow

*some data is shared anonymously

Fuel Voucher Scheme

  • PayPoint
  • Post Office
  • Energy Saving Trust

What is the legal basis for using your information?

If we process your information based on your ‘Consent’, you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time. Withdrawing your consent may mean that we cannot provide a service to you.

For the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland Area Based Schemes (HEEPS: ABS) we process your information based on ‘Contract’.  You will enter into a contract with the Energy Agency in terms of which the Energy Agency will employ and manage a contractor on your behalf. Either party can withdraw from the contract with one months’ written notice.

If you apply for an Energy Agency loan for HEEPS:ABS we process your information based on ‘Contract’. This agreement is between the Energy Agency (lender) and householder (borrower). The agreement is a standard Fixed Sum Loan Agreement regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974. You have the right to withdraw under the terms of the above Act.

What do we do with your information? 

We take information security seriously and regularly review the systems, policies and procedures we have in place to protect your information and ensure these are implemented.

We will not process your information without your consent. If your data includes “special category data” we will not process this without your explicit consent.

Where we pass information on to a third party, we ensure that this is passed securely and that they have adequate security measures in place to store your data.

We do not share your information with any third parties for marketing purposes.

How long do we keep hold of your information?

We will keep your information for:

Schemes – 7 years

Monitoring - 1 year

Financial - 7 years

Your rights

You have the right to request a copy of the personal information we hold about you. A request can be made verbally or in writing to Liz Marquis, Director, Energy Agency, Watson Peat Building, Auchincruive, Ayr, KA6 5HW

Proof of identity must be established before we supply a copy of your personal information. We will respond to your request within one calendar month of receiving it. 

If you are asking about information relating to another person, a relative for example, we need to be sure you have the authority to act on that person’s behalf. Normally this can be done through evidence of a ‘Power of Attorney’ or similar document.

You also have the right to ask us to rectify, erase, restrict, object or withdraw your consent to processing the personal information we hold about you. You can also ask us to provide data in a suitable format to transfer to another organisation – portability. If applicable, we will comply within one calendar month.

If you would like to make a complaint contact:

Information Commissioner's Office
45 Melville Street
Edinburgh, EH3 7HL
Tel: 0303 123 1115



Cookies are text files placed on your computer to collect standard internet information and visitor behaviour information. This information is used to track visits to our website.

For further information visit www.aboutcookies.org or www.allaboutcookies.org

Other websites

Our website contains link to other websites. This Privacy Notice only applies to this website so when you link to other websites you should read their own Privacy Notices.

Changes to our Privacy Notice

We regularly review our Privacy Notice to ensure it is up-to-date.  This Notice was last updated on 31/8/20.

Energy Agency

Website Terms and Conditions

Your use of the Energy Agency Web Site is subject to these terms and by using the Site you show your agreement to such terms. If you do not accept our terms, please do not use the Web Site.

Ownership of Web Site

This Web Site belongs to Energy Agency, Watson Peat Building, Auchincruive, Ayr, KA6 5HW


Headings used in these terms and conditions are for convenience only and shall not affect their interpretation.


The images, logos and names on this Web Site which identify Energy Agency or third parties and their products and services are proprietary marks of Energy Agency and/or the relevant third parties. Nothing contained in this Web Site shall be deemed to confer on any person any license or right on the part of Energy Agency or any third party with respect to any such image, logo or name.


Energy Agency reserves the right, at any time and without prior notice, to remove or cease to supply any product or service contained on this Web Site. In the event that such removal takes place we shall not be liable to you in any way whatsoever for such removal.

Phone Calls and Emails

Telephone calls using the telephone numbers provided on this Web Site and email correspondence with Energy Agency at the email addresses accessible through, or discernible from, this Web Site may be recorded or monitored. By using such communication methods you are consenting to the recording or monitoring of the same.

Telephone charges

The price of calls may vary depending on your telecoms supplier. Please check with your operator for exact charges.


Commercial use

This Web Site is for non-commercial, personal use only. The services contained on this Web Site may be supplied on a commercial basis on payment to Energy Agency or its service or product suppliers of its charges from time to time. Please contact us on Tel: 01292 521896 | Email: energyagency@energyagency.org.uk

In the event that you use any of the services contained on this Web Site for commercial use, Energy Agency shall be entitled to charge you at its applicable rates in respect of such commercial use.


The copyright in the material contained in this Web Site belongs to Energy Agency or its licensed source. Any person may copy any part of this material, subject to the following conditions:

the material may not be used for commercial purposes;

the copies must retain any copyrights or other intellectual property notices contained in the original material;

the products and technology or processes described in this Web Site may be subject to other intellectual property rights reserved by Energy Agency or by other third parties with no license granted in respect of those intellectual property rights); images on this Web Site are protected by copyright as its text by IPR and may not be reproduced or appropriated in any manner without the written permission of their respective owner(s).

Changes to Terms and Records of Agreements

We reserve the right to change these terms and conditions at any time by posting changes on the Web Site. It is your responsibility to review the Web Site terms and conditions to ensure you are aware of the latest terms and conditions. Your use of this Web Site after a change has been posted will be deemed to signify your acceptance of the modified terms and conditions. We recommend that you print off and retain for your records a copy of these terms and conditions from time to time and a copy of any terms and conditions relating to any product or service which you apply for online, together with any related application form completed and submitted.

Any amendment to terms and conditions must be agreed in writing by us, or, if appropriate, by the relevant company or individual supplier with whom you contract.


Whilst Energy Agency has taken due care and attention in the preparation of the contents of this Web Site, this Web Site and the information, names, images, pictures, logos, icons regarding or relating to Energy Agency or our products and services marketed on the site (or to third party products and services), are provided on an 'as is' basis without any representation or endorsement being made and without any warranty of any kind, whether express or implied, including but not limited to, any implied warranties of satisfactory quality, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, compatibility, security and accuracy.

To the extent permitted by law, all such terms and warranties are hereby excluded. In no event will Energy Agency be liable, whether in contract or tort (including negligence or breach of statutory duty) or otherwise for any losses sustained and arising out of or in connection with use of this Web Site including, without limitation, loss of profits, loss of data or loss of goodwill (in all these cases whether direct or indirect) nor any indirect, economic, consequential or special loss.

Energy Agency does not represent that the information contained in this Web Site is accurate, comprehensive, verified or complete, and shall accept no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this Web Site or for any reliance placed by any person on the information.

Energy Agency does not warrant that the functions or materials accessible from or contained in this Web Site will be uninterrupted or error free, that defects will be corrected or that this Web Site or the server that makes it available are virus or bug free or represent the full functionality, accuracy, reliability of the materials.

If any of these Terms and Conditions (or any terms and conditions relating to a product or service referred to in this Web Site) should be determined to be illegal, invalid or otherwise unenforceable by reason of the laws of any state or country in which such terms and conditions are intended to be effective, then to the extent of such illegality, invalidity or unenforceability, and in relation to such state or country only, such terms or condition shall be deleted and severed from the rest of the relevant terms and conditions and the remaining terms and conditions shall survive, remain in full force and effect and continue to be binding and enforceable. Nothing in these terms and conditions shall exclude Energy Agency's liability for death or personal injury resulting from negligence of Energy Agency.

Intellectual Property Rights

All Intellectual Property Rights (including, without limitation, all database rights, rights in designs, rights in know-how, patents and rights in inventions (in all cases whether registered or unregistered and including all rights to apply for registration) and all other intellectual or industrial property rights in any jurisdiction) in any information, content, materials, data or processes contained in or to this Web Site belong to Energy Agency or its licensed source. All rights of Energy Agency in such Intellectual Property Rights are hereby reserved.

Jurisdiction and Law

Energy Agency makes no representation that any product or service referred to on or through the Web Site is appropriate for use, or available in other locations. The information and other materials contained in this Web Site may not satisfy the laws of any other country and those who choose to access this Site from other locations are responsible for compliance with local laws if and to the extent local laws are applicable.

These Terms and Conditions and any terms and conditions relating to products or services described in this Web Site shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of Scotland. Disputes arising in relation to the same shall, unless otherwise expressly agreed, be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Scotland.

Links to other Web Sites

Certain (hypertext) links, advertisements or suppliers promotion will lead you to Web Sites that are not under the control of Energy Agency. When you activate any of these links, you will leave Energy Agency Web Site by opening a new window and we have no control over and will accept no responsibility or liability in respect of the material on any such other Web Site. By allowing links with third party Web Sites Energy Agency does not intend to solicit business or offer any security to any person in any country, directly or indirectly.

Force Majeure

Every effort will be made to carry out the contract but its due performance is subject to cancellation by Energy Agency or to such variation as we may find necessary as a result of inability to secure labour, materials or supplies or as a result of any act of God, War, Strike, Lockout or other labour dispute, Fire, Flood, Drought, Legislation, or other cause (whether of the foregoing class or not) beyond the sellers control.

Energy Agency

Website Accessibility

We have tried to make this website as accessible as possible and easy to use for everyone, regardless of circumstance or ability.

All our page templates comply with the WCAG Priority 2 checkpoints as a minimum requirement. And we make every effort to ensure that all the content on our site meets this standard too. We are making every effort to ensure that we don't exclude any users. For example:

  • We try to use clear and simple language.
  • We use alternative text for all our images 
  • Were possible the HTML we produce conforms to the standard: XHTML 1.0 Strict
  • We have tested the colours we use in the design for contrast.

We try to publish all our text content as accessible HTML rather than in other formats such as PDF. Where we do publish PDFs or other formats our policy is to make them as accessible as we can.