Plans are underway to build a 400MW pumped hydro scheme on the east shore of Loch Ness, capable of powering 400,000 homes.
The energy storage system would take excess electricity generated by wind farms and use it to pump water up to an elevated reservoir. The water can then be released at times of high demand, moving turbines and generating power on its way back down to the loch.
Once completed, the hydro plant will be able to provide 2.4GWh of storage capacity for the grid over a six hour period.
Energy storage has long been a challenge associated with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, which don’t necessarily produce power when demand is highest.
Boost to the local economy
The proposed site is just south of Dores, a small town around 6 miles away from Inverness. The upper reservoir will blend into the natural geographic features from where it gets its name – Red John.
Intelligent Land Investments (ILI), the company behind the project, say that it will create jobs for up to 300 people.
Mark Wilson from ILI said: “Pumped storage hydro is the largest and cleanest form of energy storage that currently exists – and a key enabler in helping Scotland meet its green energy ambitions.”
“As well as dramatically improving our energy security, this transformational proposal is a fantastic opportunity for the community to benefit from the energy transition while helping turbo-charge Scotland’s decarbonisation efforts.”
The Red John project will join the existing Foyers hydro-electric power station, also situated on the east shore of Loch Ness.