In 1943, only one in a hundred crofts in the Highlands had electricity. But in just a few decades, affordable electricity would transform the way people lived. Hydro power made this possible.
Lawers Dam is part of SSE’s Breadalbane hydro-electric scheme. It holds back Lochan-na-Lairige reservoir – the main storage area for the Lawers section of the scheme. This reservoir collects water from 45 sq km. From here, it travels by pipeline to Finlarig power station on Loch Tay.
The Breadalbane scheme centres on Loch Lyon, Loch Ear and Loch Tay. It contains three sections with seven main power stations. The Lawers section began producing power in 1956, with the entire scheme in place by 1961.
The vertical distance between Finlarig power station’s turbines and its water source at Lawers Dam is 415m. This used to be the highest ‘head’ of any SSE hydro-electric scheme until the commissioning of the Glendoe Hydro station. Finlarig discharges water into Loch Tay.
Lawers dam co-exists with the surrounding Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve. Red deer, ptarmigan and black grouse can be seen as well as water vole – one of the UK’s most threatened animals. The area is also internationally important for its rare alpine plants.