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Lead delivery organisation: Applecross Community Company
Operational since: The project is currently in the procurement stage
Project type: Third sector
Charging infrastructure on site: ac slow/fast, DC≥50kW
Features on site: battery storage, renewable energy, solar canopies

Project summary

A scheme linking local micro renewables – including a hydroelectric station – with electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in a very rural, grid constrained area. 


Applecross is a grid-constrained, rural community supplied solely by single-phase electricity, which is prohibitively expensive to upgrade. The energy restrictions this imposes directly impact the community, hindering business development, limiting locally generated energy exports, and restricting electric vehicle charging capabilities.  

To overcome these limitations, in May 2021, the community launched a feasibility study into the concept of the innovative Community Rapid & Renewable Energy Hub (AppleCoRRE Hub). The proposed system aimed to harness local renewable (solar and hydro) energy and use it to power EV charging infrastructure.  


In 2015, Applecross Community Company developed a 90kW hydro scheme (known as Apple Juice) that saw clean, low carbon electricity generated from the Allt Breugach burn, which flows into Applecross Bay. The power the community can export to the grid from this hydro scheme is limited to 50kW. This leaves 40kW of spare power available for use locally for the community.  

At present, public charging infrastructure in the area is limited. The nearest charging stations are a 7kW AC unit in Lochcarron (18 miles away) and a 50kW rapid in Torridon (25 miles away). 

Project overview

 The components of the proposed AppleCoRRE Hub are:   

  • A 50kW DC rapid charger. 
  • A double outlet 7kW AC chargepoint. 
  • A 90kW community hydro scheme. 
  • Canopy solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. 
  • A battery storage unit. 


The AppleCoRRE project aims to turn a constrained single-phase power supply into three-phase power capable of supporting rapid charging. This would form part of a fully functional hub, utilising renewable energy generated in the local community.   

This hub could be a backup power source for a new affordable housing development. The availability of three phase electricity also makes new commercial opportunities possible in the area. 

Progress so far

The project leads commissioned a feasibility study for their ambitions. They later funded a detailed study exploring how the project could be implemented in two stages. The first stage would see the installation of two charging bays and a 7kW chargepoint – these were not initially linked to the hydro scheme. The second stage would see two additional charging bays, a 50kW rapid charger, renewables, and battery storage integration.

They then conducted a further feasibility study, delivered by Urban Foresight and funded by the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme (Energy Redress).

This study answered: 

  • Is powering a 7kW AC chargepoint and a 50kW DC rapid chargepoint technically feasible without upgrading the grid?   
  • Is deploying the CoRRE Hub in Applecross cheaper than upgrading the grid?  
  • Does optimising the electricity generated by the Applecross hydro scheme and the Feed in Tariff agreement lead to new revenue generating opportunities? 
  • What are the wider benefits of deploying the CoRRE hub, and what are the market opportunities for further rollouts beyond Applecross and EVs? 

The study’s conclusion answered these questions questions and concluded the project viability. Community energy generated through the hydro turbines would be turned from single-phase to the three-phase electricity necessary for powering rapid charging infrastructure. The cost of the AppleCoRRE project is estimated to be half the cost of upscaling the grid. Moreover, the project would likely be quick to complete, while grid upgrades can take months or even years. 

The project would not affect the Applecross landscape and would actually reduce the area’s greenhouse gas emissions. AppleCoRRE could also lead to additional community benefits, with a proposed follow-up project (called Hydro Field) potentially seeing affordable housing and business units powered by the Hub.  

Challenges faced

Although backed by Highland Council, the project needs additional funding to support the live trial and deployment of the necessary infrastructure. The project leads, are currently seeking an external funding partner to continue the project. 

Key lessons learned

The CoRRe Hub could be a viable solution for other grid-constrained communities. It costs less than upgrading a constrained grid and also provides new commercial opportunities for the area it’s deployed in. 

Further information

To find out more, visit the Applecross Community Company webpage 

Contact information