With Scotland’s renewable energy sector expanding Argyll-based construction company, TSL Contractors is helping deliver several projects across the country – with Volvo Construction Equipment right at the heart of the action.
With an ambitious target for renewable energy production – 100 per cent by 2020 – the race is on to make Scotland’s energy sector one of the greenest in Europe, with hydro, wave, tidal and wind power generation all being ramped up in the energy generation mix.
Thanks to the growth in small-scale projects that have little negative impact on the environment, including ‘visual pollution’, one of the fastest growing sectors in Scotland is hydro-electric power generation.
According to the UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), as of September 2015 Scotland contained 85 per cent of the UK’s hydro-electric energy resource, much of it developed by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board in the 1950s.
Current hydro capacity, says the DECC, is 1.54 GW and it is estimated that as much as another 1.6 GW of capacity remains available to exploit, mostly in the form of micro and small-hydro developments.
Helping deliver this green energy revolution is TSL Contractors. Established nearly four decades ago, TSL began operating a small quarry on the Isle of Mull and has since developed into a major construction, civil engineering and groundworks company, specializing in hydro-electric schemes and major building projects.
Having purchased its first Volvo excavator just over a year ago, the growing company has made a significant investment in purchasing additional Volvo CE products, all of which are incremental to their fleet. The new additions include six crawler excavators – two 14-tonne EC140D machines, three 22-tonne EC220E models and a 30-tonne EC300E – and two 24-tonne capacity A25G articulated haulers.
The machines are to be used to deliver contracts awarded to the company, which is currently undertaking substantial hydro-electric projects over a wide geographical area of the country, from Gairloch in the north west to Callander in the south.
“Since we purchased the EC300D last year, we’ve been very impressed with the machine’s performance and reliability, especially on heavy-duty rock breaking applications, which are common place on the type of work we undertake,” says Andrew Knight, managing director of TSL.
“With our expanding portfolio of hydro-electric projects for both the private and public sectors, we needed to make a significant investment in new equipment, so based on our experience with the one-year-old machine, together with a competitive package on offer, we opted for more machines from Volvo,” he adds.
The new machines have been spread across Scotland to work on a variety of applications, including the construction of access roads to remote job sites and preparing trenches for laying large bore water pipes.
Typically, this involves a good deal of rock breaking on site and consequently, the Volvo EC300E and EC220E excavators have been supplied complete with hydraulic hammers. Meanwhile, the A25G articulated haulers are deployed on hauling crushed stone to construct the access roads and move overburden on site.
One of the haulers has been supplied with optional 750/65R25 floatation tires giving the benefit of reduced ground pressure, which is ideal for coping with boggy conditions and minimizing the impact of hauling heavy loads on fragile ground.
The EC140D excavators have been supplied with Steelwrist Tilt Rotators and are used primarily on reinstating the ground around the pipelines once the water pipes have been laid and covered.
The ability of the machine and tilt rotator to accomplish re-instatement profiling and finishing with just one machine, instead of using a variety of equipment , makes economic sense and, more importantly, lessens the impact on the environment, according to Andrew Knight.
“Working in an environmentally friendly way is part of our core values,” he explains. “So working with Volvo Construction Equipment also made sense.”