Environmental, Europe, Pumped Storage Hydro

U.K. utility proposes two major pumped-storage projects

United Kingdom utility Scottish and Southern Energy plc (SSE) proposes building two new pumped-storage projects of 300 to 600 MW each on the Great Glen, which bisects Scotland from Inverness to Fort William.

SSE said June 29, 2009, that it will seek a formal opinion from the Scottish Government on the scope of the environmental impact statement it will develop in support of planning applications it plans to submit in 2011.

In May, SSE announced it plans to construct a 60-MW pumped-storage plant adjoining its 152-MW Sloy hydroelectric project near Loch Lomond in Scotland. (HydroWorld 5/30/09)

“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 percent reduction in the carbon dioxide intensity of electricity produced,” SSE Chief Executive Ian Marchant said. “Pumped storage can help us achieve this goal and, after 30 years, I believe is a technology whose time has come again.”

Subject to final agreements and design, SSE envisages two big pumped-storage plants that would be able to produce more than 1,000 gigawatt-hours in a typical year to help meet peak demand. It said in both cases, the projects would have large upper reservoirs enabling generation for longer periods without the need to pump water as soon from the loch below.

SSE said both projects would require construction of dams to impound water for the upper reservoirs. However, pumping and electric generating facilities are expected to be underground, avoiding visual effects in the Great Glen itself.

They would be the first pumped-storage schemes to be developed in Great Britain since work began on the 1,728-MW Dinorwig project in 1974.

Queen Elizabeth opens SSE’s 100-MW Glendoe

Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prince Philip, officially opened SSE’s 100-MW Glendoe hydroelectric project June 29. During her visit to the newly completed project on Loch Ness in Scotland, the queen unveiled a cairn placed at a site overlooking the dam and loch.

In December SSE said it completed generating a maximum 100 MW for a full 24-hour period at Glendoe. (HydroWorld 12/12/08) The project is the United Kingdom’s first large-scale conventional hydro project to be built since the 75-MW Errochty plant opened in Perthshire in 1957.

Glendoe was completed for an investment of more than 140 million pounds (US$275 million). It is to generate about 180 million kWh annually. The project included construction of a new reservoir, an underground power station, and tunnels allowing water to be discharged into Loch Ness, 600 meters below.