SSE Receives Consent for Coire Glas Hydro Electric Scheme
OREANDA-NEWS. SSE welcomes Scottish Ministers' consent granted today for its Coire Glas pumped storage hydro electric scheme to the north-west of Loch Lochy in the Great Glen.
The 600MW scheme will extract, store and release energy to and from the electricity transmission system to help balance supply and demand for power at a national scale. It is currently estimated that it would require a total investment of around ?800m.
Coire Glas would be the first new large scale pumped storage scheme to be developed in Great Britain for over 30 years and could offer significant benefits to the GB electricity system in terms of capacity, balancing services and flexibility, particularly as the energy system moves towards an increasing amount of variable generation capacity.
The combination of the size, flexibility and short response time means that Coire Glas, and pumped storage schemes generally, can provide a range of benefits across the whole GB electricity system in a way that no other proven technology can. However, despite the obvious benefits that pumped storage offers, making a Final Investment Decision to progress the Coire Glas scheme will require overcoming a number of commercial and regulatory challenges. These include changes in the existing transmission charging regime for pumped storage and a satisfactory and supportive long-term public policy and regulatory framework. Therefore any final investment decision is unlikely before 2015 at the earliest.
Jim Smith, Managing Director of SSE Renewables, said: “Pump storage hydro electric schemes are an excellent means of energy storage and already play an important role in meeting customer's peak demand for electricity in the UK. They also naturally complement the variable output from other renewable sources such as wind.
“The combination of the size, flexibility and short response time means that Coire Glas could provide a range of benefits across the whole GB electricity system in a way that no other proven technology can. Millions of households and businesses could benefit from this project.
“The consent for Coire Glas is therefore very positive, but before SSE can make a decision to invest in the project there are some major hurdles to overcome. SSE is now keen to engage further with both the UK and Scottish governments, as well as other relevant organisations, to develop an appropriate solution to address the commercial challenges that could enable what would be an important asset for the UK energy system to progress.”