In a momentous move towards bolstering energy security and fortifying the UK's net zero power system, SSE Renewables, a subsidiary of SSE plc, has revealed ambitious plans to convert the renowned Sloy Power Station into a state-of-the-art pumped hydro storage facility. With the capacity to deliver up to 25GWh of long-duration electricity storage, the reimagined Sloy scheme could power approximately 90,000 homes for an entire week, ensuring firm and flexible renewable energy supply during periods of low wind and sun.
The announcement, made during a visit by Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf to the iconic power station on the picturesque Loch Lomond in Argyll and Bute, pays homage to the 80th anniversary of the 1943 Hydro Electric Development (Scotland) Act. This landmark legislation marked the advent of hydro-electric power in the Scottish Glens eight decades ago, a legacy that SSE Renewables aims to uphold and amplify with its conversion plans for the Sloy Power Station.
The converted Sloy scheme, subject to final design and approval, has the potential to provide uninterrupted renewable energy for up to 160 hours. With the flick of a switch, it could offer reliable and flexible power to meet the demands of 90,000 homes, ensuring energy security and bolstering the stability of the renewables-led energy system.
SSE's decision to embark on additional pumped hydro storage capacity at the existing Sloy Power Station aligns with its commitment to the UK Government's British Energy Security Strategy. As the nation transitions to a net zero power system, the development of pumped hydro storage projects assumes paramount importance in maintaining a balanced and secure electricity supply.
Director of Onshore Europe at SSE Renewables, Finlay McCutcheon, expressed delight at the redevelopment plans for the Sloy Power Station, coinciding with the 80th anniversary of hydro power's contribution to Scotland and Britain's homegrown power supply. The transformed facility will play a pivotal role in the country's future energy mix, providing large-scale, long-duration electricity storage to enhance energy security and flexibility.
SSE's pumped storage vision for Sloy aligns with its plans for another pumped hydro storage project at Coire Glas, potentially the largest of its kind in four decades with an investment exceeding £1.5 billion. A positive decision from the UK Government regarding supports for long-duration electricity storage, including revenue stabilization mechanisms and adaptations to the electricity market, will be vital to realizing these projects.
Over the coming months, SSE Renewables will refine the project design for the Sloy conversion and initiate a period of public consultation. Pending a favorable consenting outcome and supportive policies, a planning application is anticipated to be submitted to the Scottish Government in late 2023 or early 2024. SSE aims to make a final investment decision on Sloy in late 2025, with the goal of