Pump power

Scottish and Southern Energy has announced its intention to develop two large-scale pumped storage hydro-electric schemes in the Great Glen.


Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has announced its intention to develop two large-scale pumped storage hydro-electric schemes in the Great Glen.



The Perth-based utility said that it had consulted the Scottish government on the scale of environmental impact in preparations for its planning applications, which are due to be submitted in 2011.



If planning is approved, the projects would be the first pumped storage schemes to be developed in the UK since work began on the Dinorwig scheme in Wales in 1974.



The schemes will work using two bodies of water located at different heights. In periods of low demand for power, electricity will be used to pump water from the lower loch to the upper reservoir. The water will then be released to create power at a time when demand is high.



According to the company, both schemes will have large upper reservoirs to provide sustained electricity generation over longer periods. This eliminated the need to pump water from the loch below, which is the case for other pumped storage schemes in the UK.



SSE expects the proposed schemes to have an installed capacity of between 300MW and 600MW each, and be able to produce in excess of 1,000GWh of electricity a year to help meet peak demand.



Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, said: ‘Our goal is to maintain a diversified portfolio of power stations, with the flexibility to respond to customer demand for electricity, while achieving a 50 per cent reduction in the carbon dioxide intensity of electricity produced.


‘Pumped storage can help us achieve this goal and, after 30 years, I believe is a technology whose time can come again.’