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Have a say on hydro scheme at Loch Ness

By Andrew Dixon

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The proposed Loch Kemp scheme is on the south side of Loch Ness.
The proposed Loch Kemp scheme is on the south side of Loch Ness.

Developers behind plans for a new pumped storage hydro scheme on the south side of Loch Ness are holding a second round of exhibitions next week.

The 600MW scheme near Whitebridge will help balance the grid, decarbonise the electricity network and improve energy security by providing additional energy storage to help address the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources.

And because it uses existing natural features in the landscape, with Loch Kemp as an upper reservoir and Loch Ness as the lower reservoir, it is designed to be relatively unobtrusive.

Andrew Troup, of Statera Energy which hopes to develop the scheme, said: “With the current crisis created by the Ukrainian war, people now appreciate how important energy security is for our country.

“Pumped storage is a very straightforward way to address the challenges of the intermittency of some of the renewable energy technologies and help get to Net Zero. But you need a certain combination of geological features to make it work and Loch Ness is an ideal location with its mountains and lochs.”

The developer commissioned a series of studies as part of their environmental impact assessment and they will outline the findings at three public exhibitions from 1pm-7.30pm in Glenmoriston Millennium Hall, Invermoriston (December 6), The Wildside Centre, Whitebridge (December 7) and Fort Augustus Village Hall (December 8).

Mr Troup added: “We would urge people to come along and find out more. We outlined the broad plan in our first round of exhibitions and this is us coming back with more detailed proposals, ready to take any feedback and make final changes before submitting an application in spring.”

The scheme would potentially save up to 500,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year by displacing fossil fuel generation.

It comes after the £550 million Red John pumped storage hydro scheme near Dores which was given the go-ahead by the Scottish Government in June last year, despite strong objections from campaigners and Highland Council worried about the impact on the world-famous loch.

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