18 May 2024

Gee to Develop 30GWH Pumped Storage Hydro at Loch Ness

18 May 2024  by solarpowerportal.   

The project site (above) will be near Loch Ness. Image: GEE.

Glen Earrach Energy (GEE) unveiled today (17 May) plans to develop the UK’s “most efficient pumped storage hydro (PSH) project”, capable of providing 30GWh of clean energy, at Loch Ness.

The 2GW project, which will be located at Balmacaan Estate, Scotland, will require an investment of over £2 billion and generate at least 600 on-site construction jobs in Scotland over six years, as well as many more jobs in the local supply chain.

The announcement comes as GEE has started engaging with local communities, businesses, and government to seek views on how best to integrate the project into the environment and the community.

GEE is working with a consortium of advisors and experts – including AECOM, Alpiq, Frontier Economics, and LCP-Delta – to move the project forward. It recently submitted a scoping request to the Scottish government’s Energy Consents Unit.

The project will take advantage of Loch Ness’ distinctive geography. With a significant height difference of over 480m between the upper and lower reservoirs, it will maximise power generation while minimising its impact on Loch Ness water levels.

This design means that the project will use water “more efficiently than any existing or proposed pumped storage project in the UK”, the firm said.

Commenting on the scheme, GEE director, Roderick MacLeod, said: “Scotland is a leader in wind power, but the wind doesn’t always blow when we need the energy most. That’s when PSH comes in. It is like a giant water battery, storing excess wind power when it’s plentiful and releasing it when the wind dies down.

“International experts have identified Glen Earrach Energy’s pumped storage hydro project as the most efficient in the UK, possibly even Europe. It will be needed to help Britain get to net zero.”

MacLeod also highlighted the need for governmental support for long-duration energy storage projects, much like the Loch Ness PSH discussed here, and welcomed the proposed income floor mechanism.

“Globally, pumped storage has relied on government support. The UK government’s proposed income floor is a step in the right direction, which Glen Earrach Energy supports. We believe the government should prioritise projects proven to be the most efficient, cost effective and sustainable, rather than those with planning. That way they should be self-financing and in theory never have to draw on government support.”


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