Ministers approve 400MW Glenmuckloch hydro scheme
The Scottish Government has backed a 400MW hydro scheme proposal on a former opencast mine near Kirkconnel in Dumfries and Galloway. The £150 million Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Hydro (PSH) scheme, a joint venture by Buccleuch Estates and 2020 Renewables, has already been approved by Dumfries and Galloway Council and now has the green light from the Scottish Government.
The former opencast mine site currently operates as a surface mine, though the site is also currently undergoing an extensive restoration. The hydro project is part of a wider development, known as the Glenmuckloch Energy Park, where a windfarm is also proposed. The eight turbine proposal is still being considered by ministers and the council has raised objections to that part of the scheme.
Development of the Glenmuckloch pumped storage hydro (PSH) electricity generation station will support more than 320 construction jobs during the development stage and 15 new permanent jobs will be created once the power station is up and running.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “Renewable energy sources generated more than 56 per cent of gross electricity consumption in Scotland in 2015, helping support our world-leading ambitions to become a low-carbon economy. The Scottish Government believes there is a huge opportunity around pumped storage hydro. This tried-and-tested technology can support peak demand and effectively store greater levels of electricity at times when renewable energy output is high but demand is low.”
Industry trade body Scottish Renewables welcomed the decision. Policy manager Hannah Smith said: “Renewable energy is already providing jobs, investment and direct financial benefits to the communities of south-west Scotland. The Glenmuckloch development is a perfect example of how green energy projects can make use of the infrastructure of the past and rejuvenate the local economy. Pumped storage hydropower allows excess energy generated throughout the day to be stored and used when it's needed. It is vital that the UK Government works to recognise the potential of this technology if we are to realise these benefits across the country.”