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main image Hydro-electric energy, Loch Sloy, Dunbartonshire
The turbine was invented in the 1890s as a way of producing mechanical power, initially to drive ships. Soon it was realised that if water descending under gravity was passed through a turbine, it could be used to drive an electric generator.

This technology was particularly useful in the west Highlands, where there is a high level of rainfall. Dams were built, most of them between 1945 and 1960, to create reservoirs of water. The turbines were in a power station at a lower level.

Electricity was transmitted to the user by power lines slung on pylons. This had an unhappy effect on the landscape.

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