Like most of their continental European counterparts, the British Aluminium Company looked to water-power – rather than coal fired steam power – to generate the vast quantities of electricity necessary to produce aluminium.
It was this above all else that initially attracted the infant company to the west Highlands, with the area’s high rainfall, large water reserves and physical geography. In the long run, a variety of factors would conspire to make the electricity generated from their three west Highland schemes relatively costly in comparison to Norwegian or North American hydro-electric generating capacity.
Nevertheless, demand for the metal, its strategic and wider economic importance would continue to enable the west Highland plants to remain commercially and politically desirable. The hydro-electric schemes, in themselves, stand as impressive monuments (renowned the world over) to civil engineering genius and the labours of those that constructed them.