A planning application has been officially submitted for the Loch Kemp Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme, situated near Whitebridge in Inverness, Scotland. 

The proposed project, unveiled by Statera Energy two years ago during public exhibitions in November and December 2021, is designed to provide a substantial economic boost. If approved, the construction of the hydro scheme is expected to inject £30 million into the Highland economy and an additional £57 million into the broader Scottish economy. The project is also set to create up to 25 high-quality, long-term jobs.

Located on the south side of Loch Ness, at Whitebridge, northeast of Fort Augustus, the scheme intends to build and operate a new 600MW pumped storage system. The upper storage reservoir would utilize the existing Loch Kemp, while Loch Ness would serve as the lower reservoir.

David Rodger, Statera Energy’s Business Development Director Scotland, emphasized the careful consideration given to the project's impact on the local community. "We believe this is an ideal site for a pumped storage hydro scheme," Rodger stated. "By making some adjustments to the height of Loch Kemp, we can provide an energy storage solution which is much less obtrusive and has less impact for local residents."

Rodger further highlighted the positive reception received during two rounds of public exhibitions, noting adjustments made to plans based on community feedback. The proposed hydro scheme, named 'Loch Kemp Storage,' is seen as a crucial element in improving energy security and increasing the UK's pumped storage hydro capacity by one fifth.

"This application marks another considerable step in our mission to expand our activities in Scotland and be the UK leader in providing flexible generation and storage to help balance a high-renewables electricity system and provide energy security," Rodger stated.

The Loch Kemp project is poised to play a pivotal role in the UK's transition to net zero by optimizing electricity generated from renewables. With the potential to generate at full capacity for 15 hours, the scheme could power over one million homes, contributing significantly to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Scotland's unique geography, characterized by mountains and large inland lochs, coupled with abundant renewable energy sources and high rainfall, makes it an ideal location for pumped hydro storage. The Loch Kemp project offers additional efficiency benefits, including shorter water routes, reduced construction risks, and the utilization of an existing top loch.

Following a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment conducted by Statera since the initial public exhibition in 2021, the planning application is now under consideration by Highland Council. The final decision will rest with the Energy Consents Unit of the Scottish Parliament.