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Consent granted for Scottish hydro scheme 15 Jan 2014
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
Consent is granted for development of the estimated £800 million Coire Glas pumped storage hydro scheme in Scotland.

SSE outlines the £800 million Coire Glas scheme

The 600MW scheme will become the first new, large-scale hydro project in the UK for 30 years if owner Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) gives the project the go-ahead. A final investment decision is expected in 2015, and a construction period of five years is envisaged.
Detailed engineering design has not yet been carried out, but the preliminary proposal comprises (Fig 1):
•  a headrace tunnel of about 600m;
•  a 1.5km tailrace into Loch Lochy;
•  a main access tunnel of about 600m;
•  an emergency access tunnel of some 1,500m;
•  two underground caverns and associated galleries for the machine and transformer halls set 400m deep inside
    the hillside, and
•  surge and ventilation shafts
The proposal, which will require excavation of an estimated 450,000m3 of rock, comprises construction of a new dam and upper reservoir some 650m x 1,000m x 92m deep at Coire Glas to the north west of Loch Lochy near Invergarry in Great Glen, Scotland.
Fig 1. Indicative layout of Coire Glas scheme

Fig 1. Indicative layout of Coire Glas scheme

Paul O'Brien for SSE told TunnelTalk that no detailed engineering studies had been completed and that no consideration had been given to either the excavation method or the contractor procurement strategy for the scheme. "We do not expect to have this level of detail until an investment decision is made," said O'Brien.
"The combination of the size, flexibility and short response time means that Coire Glas could provide a range of benefits across the whole UK electricity system in a way that no other proven technology can. Millions of households and businesses could benefit from this project," said Jim Smith, Managing Director of SSE Renewables.
"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."
The UK currently has four hydro pumped storage facilities, situated in Scotland and Wales, with a total installed capacity of 2,828MW.
References
Glendoe recovery on track - TunnelTalk, August 2011
Rock falls shut down Glendoe power plant - TunnelTalk, August 2009
Glendoe rockfalls more serious than initial fears - TunnelTalk, October 2009
Recovery contract for failed headrace at Glendoe - TunnelTalk, February 2010

           

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