The 450MW Red John pumped storage project proposed for the shores of Loch Ness has gained planning consent from the Scottish Government, developer ILI Group has announced.
The consent comes after a report from a public inquiry was submitted to Ministers in February this year.
“We are delighted that the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy, and Transport, Michael Matheson, has approved this project,” said Mark Wilson, chief executive officer of ILI Group. “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.
“There is currently a pipeline of over 5GW of pumped storage 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 Red John project will be located on the eastern shore of the north end of Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. Loch Ness is to be the tail pond for the project, with the head pond to be newly constructed. It will use the natural topography between Loch Duntelchaig, Loch Ashie and Loch na Curra and Lochan an Eoin Ruadha, from where the development gets its Red John name.
“The Scottish Government has long been supportive of pumped hydro 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,” commented Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson. “Scotland is a leader in this field, with 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 hydro 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.”