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ILI Group puts forward plans for new battery storage facility at Cannich, near Glen Affric

By Calum MacLeod

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The company behind a controversial new hydro scheme on the banks of Loch Ness has proposed a separate battery storage facility near Glen Affric.

Hamilton-based Intelligent Land Investments (ILI) Group has lodged an application with Highland Council's planning department for a 29MW battery energy storage facility close to Balnabruich, by Kerrow Farm, to the south-west of the village.

An earlier application for a 20MW facility was withdrawn in June last year.

The battery storage facility is proposed for the outskirts of Cannich. Picture: John Davidson
The battery storage facility is proposed for the outskirts of Cannich. Picture: John Davidson

This is one of a number of similar projects being developed across Scotland by ILI – whose Red John pumped storage hydro scheme near Dores on the south side of Loch Ness is set to go to a public inquiry – in order to help achieve Scotland's net-zero carbon emissions target by 2045.

A spokesman for ILI Group said: "It will enable extra renewables to go online because you can store renewable energy and put it back into the system when it is needed. That enables further renewables development in the area so it is all good for helping achieve the net-zero targets we are aiming to hit in 2045.

"The company's focus is to have as many of these energy storage projects available so we can maximise Scotland's renewable energy potential."

Although close to the hydro power station at Fasnakyle, the site will not draw power from a particular renewable energy source and will instead draw electricity from the national grid whenever excess power is available.

ILI anticipates it will be at least 12 months before development work begins on the site, but says it has already been in contact with the local community council in regard to the proposal and has taken on board some of the concerns raised.

"We have had tried to reduce the number of containers on site to try and reduce the visible impact as much as we can," the spokesman added.

"We are going to have a landscape bund with tree planting and fencing so the whole site will be screened and from the road you won't be able to see the infrastructure because it will be surrounded by landscaping and trees, so the actual visual impact should be minimal.

"We have a number of these projects across Scotland and normally they are not contentious. Local planning departments and local communities seem to accept that we are are trying to do something positive and create the infrastructure the network needs so we can bring as much renewable energy to Scotland as we can.

"If we want to hit net-zero targets, we need to have energy storage available. We need to have up to 17GW of energy storage available by 2050 – at the moment we have 4.5GW."

ILI will hold a drop-in public exhibition event giving further details on the project at Cannich Village Hall on Wednesday, March 11, from 3pm to 8pm.

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