Water batteries and hydro power generation to meet grid-scale needs
Pumped storage is often referred to as a large “water battery.” It can harness renewable onshore and offshore wind, or solar, or nigh time nuclear energy produced during favourable conditions to pump water from a low reservoir to a higher one, then when other renewables are unavailable, release it back to the lower reservoir. This water flows quickly provides large power generation capacity, on demand—and it’s carbon free clean energy.
SSE Renewable’s Coire Glas 1296 MW project will be the first major pumped storage scheme to be built in the UK in over forty years. Our job? Reference designs for engineering, supporting procurement of the construction contractor (including the dam – set to be the largest in the UK, 17km tunnels of up to 10m diameter, three underground caverns for the power complex, access roads, and associated infrastructure), and completing all post Section 36 environmental permitting to enable construction.
Early 2023 saw the start of construction on a 1km long exploratory adit tunnel, at depths of up to 700m below ground, to investigate the geology of the power station.
The project is sited in the Great Glen of Scotland, an environmentally sensitive location. As a result, a large focus of our work has been supporting the business case with socio-economic information, including 3D landscape and visual impact assessments for stakeholder meetings. Water balance models were developed to assess avian and aquatic impacts, and a peat management strategy will protect the dam site.
By enabling the construction of this large-scale generation scheme, which will more than double the UK's pumped hydro storage capability, SSE Renewables is helping the UK Government optimise its renewables target and enact its carbon reduction plan.
Find out more about the project here.
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