The company behind a major green energy scheme that will use water from Loch Ness to create a giant “rechargeable battery” is planning to develop two new similar projects at Loch Awe and Loch Tay. The proposal to create a 450-megawatt pumped storage hydro scheme near Dores, on the east shore of Loch Ness, has been lodged with Scottish ministers. Named Red John, the development will use excess power generated by wind farms to draw water from the loch and pump it to a specially created head pond in the hills above. The stored water can then be released through tunnels to generate hydro electric power quickly at times when it is needed. The scheme, from Hamilton-based Intelligent Land Investments (ILI), will provide 2.8 gigawatt-hours of storage capacity for the grid over a six-hour period. It will also have “black start” ability, meaning it can immediately begin producing power if there is a sudden shutdown of supply. The two new proposed developments will be even more powerful than Red John – 600MW at Loch Tay and 520MW at Loch Awe. The three ILI schemes are part of a total 4.1GW of new pumped storage hydro in development across the UK, all of it in Scotland except a 100MW scheme in Wales. There are already two pumped storage hydro plants operating north of the border – the 440MW Cruachan “hollow mountain”, near Dalmally in Argyll, and the 305MW Loch Mhòr, at Foyers in Inverness-shire.
Scotsman 8th Dec 2018 read more »