TWO hydro power plants in the Highlands have been acquired by investors in what has been billed as a multi-million pound deal, which reflects strong interest in renewable energy assets.

The Glasgow-based Turner group has combined with CRF Hydro Power to buy the Glen Buck and Munergie hydro schemes by Loch Garry from the Guinness Asset Management investment business.

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The price paid by the Foster Turner Hydro venture formed by the firms has not been disclosed.

However, Virgin Money said it has provided an £8m long-term loan to support the acquisition, and upgrade, of the hydro schemes.

The Glasgow-based lender, which owns Clydesdale Bank, said the schemes are set to generate enough electricity to power over 2,600 homes and to displace around 2,500 tonnes of carbon per annum.

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Keith Wilson, Head of Renewable Energy at Virgin Money, said: “While sometimes overlooked, medium-scale hydro schemes have an important role to play in supporting the energy transition, particularly those capable of delivering power at times of peak demand, as is the case here.”

The deal underlines the Turner group’s interest in the emerging renewable energy sector.

Founded in 1912, Turner has businesses operating in areas ranging from aviation services to cooling equipment rental.

The group provides windfarm maintenance services through the Turner Iceni venture. It is developing a hydro power plant with CRF Hydro, which is based in Argyll. Led by Martin and Roy Foster, CRF owns and operates 11 hydro schemes.

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Firms based outside Scotland have bought a range of renewables assets recently and invested in their existing facilities.

Drax has completed work on the Lanark and Galloway hydro-electric facilities on rivers in South West Scotland. Last week the company made clear it would be prepared to invest heavily in increasing the capacity of the huge Cruachan pumped hydro storage plant in Argyll, with the right support.

In February London-based Greencoat UK Wind and Chinese-owned Red Rock Power increased their exposure to Scotland separately through acquisitions involving three windfarms in total.