The Scottish government has given consent for a pumped storage hydro scheme of up to 400MW on a site at a former opencast coal mine in Dumfries and Galloway.
The project will create over 250 jobs during a five-year construction programme at the site, which has ceased coal operations. It is hoped that the scheme will become a catalyst for industrial regeneration in the region, but any proposal would need major financial investment from other partners.
Pumped storage hydro, as at Ben Cruachan in Scotland and Dinorwig in Snowdonia, Wales, pumps water to a high level during times of low power demand and contributes electricity to the National Grid at periods of peak demand.
Alan Baker, the managing director of 2020 Renewables, one of the joint venture partners with Buccleuch, said: ‘Pumped storage brings considerable benefits to the country’s energy system. Major pumped storage schemes already exist in Scotland – for example at Foyers and Cruachan – but no new projects have been built in over 30 years.
‘The challenge is in finding the package of support measures which will unlock private investment in the project. We have been working with the UK and Scottish governments and others to find a way to make this work. A successful project will be a major driver of economic activity and growth across the region.’
- Scotland, UK, 2020 Renewables, hydropower, pumped storage