Snowdonia Pumped Hydro (SPH) has submitted an application to build a 99.9MW pumped storage facility at Glyn Rhonwy near Llanberis, Wales.

The £160M scheme, which already has planning permission from local authority Gwynedd Council at an output of 49.9MW, would re-purpose two abandoned slate quarries and is the first of a series of schemes that parent company Quarry Battery Company (QBC) intends to develop throughout the UK.

SPH wishes to double the output of the Glyn Rhonwy facility by increasing the capacity of the underground turbines and associated equipment. In every other respect the revised scheme would be identical to that already granted planning permission by Gwynedd Council. Electricity storage facilities are treated by the UK planning system as generators. Schemes up to 49.9 MW output must apply for planning permission to a local authority. Those with an output of 50MW and up are classed as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and are evaluated by the Planning Inspectorate, with the final decision being made by the Secretary of State.

The Glyn Rhonwy facility would be expected to have an operational life of around 125 years and support up to 30 full time local jobs. Hundreds of workers would be required during construction.

QBC recently submitted evidence to the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) demonstrating how a new 10GW fleet of pumped hydro schemes built around the UK would cut £3.5B a year from the cost of decarbonising the grid, reduce carbon emissions by 5M tonnes a year, and make the UK’s electricity supply more secure. Part funded by a £200,000 grant from DECC, QBC carried out a UK-wide geographical survey that identified suitable sites with low planning risk for some 15GW of new pumped hydro storage.

Snowdonia Pumped Hydro was created by parent organisation Quarry Battery Company to take the Glyn Rhonwy scheme forward to construction and operation. The scheme was designed in consultation with AECOM, Gwynedd Council, Cadw, Countryside Council For Wales and Environment Agency Wales (now Natural Resources Wales).