IT sounds like the plot of a classic Scottish movie, but it is all playing out for real in the Highlands as the people of Ullapool find themselves facing the mammoth task of raising a cool one million pounds in order to turn the town green when it comes to the energy they use.

The people of the picturesque Highland town have just days left to raise the money they need to fund the pioneering hydro-electric scheme, to be owned and run by the local community.

Profits from the proposed BroomPower plant on a river near Ullapool will be ploughed back into community projects - while shareholders are also promised a four per cent rate of return.

By 3pm yesterday afternoon, backers had raised more than £800,000 towards their target, which has to be reached by August 31. They spent the day on the streets of Ullapool leafleting in the hope of turning “this fantastic opportunity into a reality”.

Sarah Donald from BroomPower said: “Investing in the scheme doesn’t just help the community ... it supports Scotland’s move towards renewable energy and makes sound financial sense too.”

BroomPower is registered as a community benefit society, which means profits must be used to help local people. It is owned by its members.

The plan is to install a generator powered by Allt a’Mhuilinn burn south of Ullapool. It will be a low-impact “run-of-river” scheme, using the steepness of the hillside to produce 100 kilowatts of green electricity.

This is the river where Scotland's very first hydro-electric scheme is thought to have been sited. It was run in the late 1890s by Sir John Fowler, a civil engineer famous for his work on the London Underground and the Forth Bridge.

One of those involved is Jason Leon, a 49-year-old energy consultant based in Ullapool and Edinburgh. “Why wouldn't you invest in a community hydro scheme?” he said.

“It's great to think that your money can be doing some good. We have some of the best rain and mountains for it to run down in the world.”

The team looking after the project was very experienced, he added. “I feel, that in this day and age, our savings invested in BroomPower shares and earning four per cent per annum could not be in a better place.”

Another backer is Dave Maxwell, a 51-year-old computer manager, who moved to Ullapool with his family in 2013. “We were amazed at the amount of community activity from such a small population – music and dance festivals, world rowing championships, swimming pool funding,” he said.

“The hydro scheme was a great opportunity both for me to put something back and also to generate funds for community projects in the future.”

The scheme has been warmly welcomed by environmentalists. “The BroomPower is a great example of how communities and ordinary folk can benefit from our much-needed transition to renewable energy,” said Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

“If all goes well shareholders will receive a decent financial return with an ownership structure that means they also get to have a say in the running of the scheme. By generating money for the local community, those who cannot afford to invest will also receive the benefits of this shared renewable resource.”

In its manifesto for the last election, the SNP promised to ensure that by 2020 at least half of all new renewable projects would have an element of shared ownership. There are already over 400 community or locally-owned energy projects in Scotland generating more than 500 megawatts of electricity.

Dixon added: “Community-owned renewable energy is a big success story in Scotland and helps deliver community empowerment and boost local economies, as well as reducing climate emissions.”