In a move signaling its commitment to aiding Scotland in achieving renewable energy targets and bolstering UK energy security, Statkraft, Europe’s largest renewable power generator, has announced the acquisition of the Red John Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme from Intelligent Land Investments Group (ILI).

The 450MW scheme, which received approval from Scottish Government ministers in June 2021, is strategically positioned approximately 14km south-west of Inverness. This acquisition underscores Statkraft’s dedication to supporting Scotland's renewable energy objectives and ensuring a secure energy supply for the UK, especially as the nation transitions away from fossil fuels.

The Red John Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme will serve as a vital component in capturing excess renewable energy, storing it for future use, and contributing to the security of supply in the evolving landscape of Great Britain’s electricity network. Pending the final investment decision, the project is expected to generate hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and provide permanent employment opportunities once operational.

Statkraft, with roots dating back more than 125 years in Norway, holds the position of Europe’s largest hydropower electricity producer. The company boasts a portfolio that includes numerous pumped storage plants in operation in Norway and Germany, in addition to over 350 other hydropower plants, including the Rheidol plant near Aberystwyth, Wales.

As a technology developer and operator in various domains such as wind, solar, grid stability, hydropower, battery storage, and green hydrogen, Statkraft has established a robust presence in Scotland. The company has its headquarters in Glasgow, the Keith Greener Grid Park in Moray, and operates several wind farms. Its ongoing and planned projects represent a potential future capital investment in Scotland of at least £2bn.

Intelligent Land Investments Group (ILI), a prominent clean energy development company based in Hamilton, Scotland, has played a crucial role in bringing the Red John Pumped Storage Hydro project from conception to development readiness. ILI has solidified its position as one of the top energy storage developers in the UK, boasting a formidable 4.7GW portfolio comprising Pumped Storage Hydro and battery storage projects.

Kevin O’Donovan, Statkraft’s UK Managing Director, said: “Statkraft is fully committed to supporting the UK in strengthening its energy security and helping to secure the economic benefits of the net zero transition. The acquisition of this significant pumped hydro storage scheme will play a key role in that. But there needs to be an appropriate support mechanism in place, so we’re now looking to the UK Government to provide the certainty that will allow us to proceed with confidence.” 

 Mark Wilson, CEO of ILI, said: “From its inception until now, Red John has been eight years in getting to this stage and has required the expertise and dedication of a fantastic team. I would especially like to thank the ILI team, AECOM, TLT, PwC, and everyone who has helped in reaching this exciting milestone. Entrusting Red John to Statkraft reflects our confidence in their capability to realise its potential and rekindle Scotland’s hydro legacy.   

“As we stand on the threshold of a greener future where long-duration storage like Red John is paramount, we believe the UK can lead in renewable energy paired with energy storage as a keystone for the energy transition. There is over 5GW of pumped storage hydro projects in the UK pipeline which will inject billions into the economy and create over 15,000 new jobs. We encourage the UK Government to provide the support mechanisms now for long duration storage and strive to become a world leader in achieving net-zero.”