Pumped Storage Hydro (PSH) is a type of energy storage that uses excess electricity to pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher one. When electricity is needed, the water is released back down through turbines, generating electricity. PSH is a mature technology with several advantages, including:
- Long-duration storage: PSH can store electricity for hours or even days, making it ideal for balancing the intermittency of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
- High efficiency: PSH can store and generate electricity with relatively low energy losses.
- Flexibility: PSH can be quickly ramped up or down to meet changing demand.
Scotland is well-suited for PSH due to its abundance of mountains and lochs, which provide ideal locations for reservoirs. There are currently three operational PSH plants in Scotland, with a total capacity of 3.5 GW. However, there are also several PSH projects under development, which could add up to 15 GW of additional capacity.
The development of PSH in Scotland is being driven by several factors, including:
- The need to decarbonize the electricity grid
- The increasing deployment of renewable energy sources
- The need for more flexible generation capacity
If all of the proposed PSH projects are built, Scotland could become a major exporter of electricity to other parts of the UK and Europe.
Here are some of the key Scottish PSH projects:
- Coire Glas: This project, if approved, would be the largest PSH plant in the UK, with a capacity of 30 GWh. It is located in the Highlands of Scotland.
- Cruachan: This is the largest operational PSH plant in Scotland, with a capacity of 440 MW. It is located in Argyll and Bute.
- Loch Lomond: This is the second largest operational PSH plant in Scotland, with a capacity of 270 MW. It is located on the shore of Loch Lomond.
- Sloy: This is the third largest operational PSH plant in Scotland, with a capacity of 152 MW. It is located in the Highlands of Scotland.
The development of PSH in Scotland is a significant opportunity to decarbonize the electricity grid and support the growth of renewable energy.