Located near Ardross in Ross-shire, northern Scotland, the Glasa project will generate around 7.5MW which should provide enough energy for about 10,000 homes.
Once built, this project would be the largest hydro scheme in the UK and the second largest conventional hydro scheme in over half a century.
SSE decision to proceed with the Glasa scheme was encouraged by the so-called Renewable Obligation Certificate incentives from the Scottish government which wants all its electricity to come from clean sources by 2020 from about 39% now. These amount to about £44 a megawatt-hour at current prices.
Thanks to the ROC banding, SSE has proposed a significantly larger pumped storage scheme, a 600MW project called Coire Gas on Loch Lochy in the Great Glen. Still awaiting planning consent from Scottish ministers, the scheme could improve significantly the capacity and flexibility of the GB electricity system although will require a strong and supportive regulatory framework together with favourable UK government’s electricity market reform proposals, changes to the transmission charging regime envisioned by Ofgem’s Project TransmiT and the availability of a timely grid connection date.
All these factors will determine whether SSE will invst on Coire Glas.
The question remains whether policy makers will decide to put the right support mechanisms for new pumped storage hydro in place.
The Glasa project completion is planned for end 2015
Sources: Bloomberg and TheEngineer websites