Scotland approves the 450 MW Red John pumped-storage scheme

The ILI Group of the UK has gained planning consent from the Scottish Government for the 450 MW Red John pumped-storage project on the shores of Loch Ness.

The planned £550 million (US$ 770.4 million) scheme, which was approved by Scottish ministers on 7 June, following a report from a public development, which was submitted to the Cabinet in February for consideration, could mean a major investment in the local economy and bring up to 700 direct and indirect jobs, alongside wider benefits to the local area and Scotland as a whole, the ILI Group said. The project, which is approximately 14 km southwest of Inverness within the Highland Council planning authority area, is planned to have a storage capacity of approximately 2800 MWh. The broader adoption of long-duration energy storage projects such as this is seen as essential for the further deployment of renewable energy projects across Scotland. Referring to the Red John scheme, Mark Wilson, CEO of the ILI Group said: “This will help pave the way for hundreds of millions of pounds of investment and hundreds of new jobs in the area and will be another major step in Scotland’s ongoing journey to becoming a leader in renewable energy.

This project alone will save more that 45 x 106 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime. Currently more than 5 GW of pumped storage is planned in the UK but we need to work closely with the UK Government to implement the market mechanisms that are needed to drive investment into these projects, to ensure we hit our net zero targets”. “The Scottish Government has long been supportive of pumped storage for its role in ensuring resilience in our electricity supplies, and for the tremendous opportunity it provides to unlock the potential of renewable energy and support Scotland’s net zero ambitions”, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson, said. “Scotland is a leader in this field, with an excellent hydroelectric power heritage built over the last century, and this new scheme at Loch Ness will only add to that. As we add more renewable electricity generation across Scotland, investing in pumped storage will be key to balancing our electricity demand with supply, and keeping the system secure, as well as creating high quality, green jobs and enabling a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why we continue to call on the UK Government to take the urgent action required in reserved areas to provide investors with improved revenue certainty and unlock potentially significant investment in new pumped-storage capacity in Scotland,” he added. ILI Group was formed in 2017 with the aim of achieving planning consents for three pumped-storage sites in Scotland, with a total combined storage capacity of at least 2 GW. In addition to energy storage, the company, formerly known as Intelligent Land Investments Group (ILI), also focuses on renewable energy projects and the development of eco-friendly residential housing.