The plants, to be located in the Great Glen, are expected to have installed capacities between 300-600MW. Although both schemes would require construction of a dam, the majority of the infrastructure is likely to be built underground, avoiding any impact in the Great Glen itself.

The company is planning to seek the Scottish Government’s formal opinion on the scope of the environmental impact statement for the projects – which, if given the go-ahead, would be the first pumped storage schemes to be developed in the UK since work began on the Dinorwig scheme in Wales in 1974.

SSE already owns and operates a 300MW pumped storage scheme at Foyers, on the south side of Loch Ness. It will also be submitting an application to develop a 60MW pumped storage scheme at its existing Sloy hydroelectric power plant at Loch Lochmond.

The company has also just completed the development of the UK’s first large scale conventional hydro station for 50 years at Glendoe, with the project being officially opened today by Her Majesty the Queen.