SSE [SSE:LN], a British power generator, has announced that it plans to invest GBP100m (USD122m) in a Scottish pumped hydro scheme to boost the country’s energy storage capacity, as reported by Reuters on March 15. The Coire Glas project, located on the shores of Scotland’s Loch Lochy, is expected to power around 3 million homes and cost approximately GBP1.5bn to build. Pending a final investment decision in 2024, the project is expected to be operational by 2031. However, SSE has emphasized the need for clarity from the government regarding its policies around energy storage to provide certainty around the project’s revenues. SSE’s Finance Director, Gregor Alexander, has urged the UK Government to confirm how it will facilitate the deployment of similar projects. The GBP100m investment will be allocated towards the project’s design, advancing it towards an investment decision, and site investigation works. The UK Government is expected to release measures to support energy security later this month.
Pumped hydro storage is an energy storage technology that uses water to store and generate electricity. The process involves pumping water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir during times of low energy demand, and then releasing the water to flow back down to the lower reservoir through a turbine to generate electricity during times of high energy demand. This technology is highly efficient and can convert up to 80% of the energy used to pump the water back into electricity during periods of high demand. However, it also requires significant land and water resources, and can have environmental impacts. Nevertheless, its ability to respond quickly to changes in energy demand makes it a valuable asset to electricity grids.