Renewables sector calls for ‘new hydro generation’

Scottish Renewables is today (3 May) calling on the UK and Scottish Governments to join forces and create a new body to examine the potential of hydroelectric pumped storage which the organisation believes would unlock £1bn of investment and deliver 'a massive boost to UK energy security'.

The industry body will release a new position paper on hydroelectric pumped storage at its Hydro Conference in Perth later today. The paper calls on the UK and Scottish Governments to establish an inter-governmental panel to look at how this energy storage technology can strengthen the UK’s energy security.

“A new generation of pumped storage has the potential to play a hugely important role in helping deliver a secure energy system for the UK, while also providing a number of other environmental and economic benefits,” said Scottish Renewables’ senior policy manager Joss Blamire.

“This tried and tested energy storage technology can also help facilitate our transition to a low-carbon future, ensuring that renewable energy can be stored when it is generated and used as required.”

Pumped storage effectively acts like a giant battery; by using electricity to pump water from a lower to a higher reservoir where it can be stored and then, when required, be released to generate electricity, as a conventional hydroelectric power station would.

Lagging behind

There are already initial plans for investment in new and upgraded pumped storage schemes in Scotland, but the technology is not currently recognised within the UK Government’s new Electricity Market Reform (EMR) framework. The UK is home to just 3 GW of pumped storage capacity, as compared to Germany (6GW), France (4.5GW) and Austria (8GW).

“The case for new pumped storage has never been stronger than it is today,” added Blamire. “That is why the renewables industry is calling on UK and Scottish Governments to establish an inter-governmental panel to consider how this technology should be supported for the benefit of the our energy security, environment and the consumer.”

Scottish Renewables has also today written directly to the Minister for Energy, Enterprise & Tourism Fergus Ewing and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey; to seek the establishment of an intergovernmental panel on hydroelectric pumped storage.

Luke Nicholls

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