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Clean energy giant buys monster ‘water battery’ next to Loch Ness in Scotland: ‘[This facility] is paramount’

“We believe the UK can lead in renewable energy paired with energy storage as a keystone for the energy transition.”

"We believe the UK can lead in renewable energy paired with energy storage as a keystone for the energy transition.”

Photo Credit: iStock

Norwegian clean energy company Statkraft recently bought the rights to a pumped storage hydropower plant project, otherwise known as a “water battery,” in Scotland, near the famed Loch Ness.

The company hopes this monster deal will help move the United Kingdom toward using more clean energy and away from dependence on pollution-causing power sources.

A “water battery” operates using two or more reservoirs at different elevations. When energy demand is low and the grid has excess energy, water is pumped from a lower reservoir to one at a higher elevation. When demand is higher and there is a shortage of electrical energy, water is released from the upper reservoir down to the lower reservoir, driving hydroelectric turbines on the way.

The new plant will be built next to a similar one that’s been in operation since 1965. “Water batteries” ensure long-term energy production using means that will not harm the environment.

On top of that, the project will create hundreds of jobs during construction and permanent positions once it’s operational.

This project, called Red John, is just one of six currently under development in Scotland that will more than double the UK’s pumped storage hydro capacity to 7.7 gigawatts.

Statkraft purchased the project from Intelligent Land Investments Group (ILI). ILI CEO Mark Wilson said of the project: “As we stand on the threshold of a greener future where long-duration storage like Red John is paramount, we believe the UK can lead in renewable energy paired with energy storage as a keystone for the energy transition.”

Statkraft’s UK managing director, Kevin O’Donovan, said: “Statkraft is fully committed to supporting the UK in strengthening its energy security and helping to secure the economic benefits of the net zero transition.”

O’Donovan added that the company is looking for support from the government moving forward with this project.

“But there needs to be an appropriate support mechanism in place,” O’Donovan said, “so we’re now looking to the UK government to provide the certainty that will allow us to proceed with confidence.”

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