KINLOCHLEVEN hydro station, owned ultimately by steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, has increased its production by 20 per cent.

Simec said the output increase is part of a wider planned upgrade to the facility which will see overall capacity rise by up to 40% by the end of the year.

Simec, part of Mr Gupta’s GFG Alliance, acquired the station in 2016, and the energy, infrastructure and natural resources business said the move “delivers a step up in clean energy”.

Hydro is a core element in GFG’s strategy.

It said it is the first power generation businesses to commit to new investment following a recent amendment to the renewable obligation order in Scotland.

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The amended legislation paved the way for the Kinlochleven plant to produce more than the 19.5 MW of power for which it is accredited, at no extra cost to the consumer, it said.

The group has embarked on a programme to build or upgrade 12 hydro schemes in the Highlands by 2021.

Simec also last year applied to build a £158 million Highland wind farm at Glenshero after about two years of environmental and technical studies and public consultation, the firm said.

Mr Gupta’s conglomerate is behind a £1 billion investment in the metals industry in Scotland through Liberty House at the Dalzell steel plant and Fort William aluminium smelter.

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Jay Hambro, chief executive of Simec energy and chief investment officer of the GFG Alliance, said: “We are delighted to have stepped up our clean green power output with the Kinlochleven hydro station, powering more Scottish businesses and communities in an environmentally friendly way.

“As a committed investor, we are focused on maximising the site’s capacity to support local economic growth, as well as helping to generate more renewable energy in Scotland at no cost to the consumer.”