South Scotland

Glenmuckloch opencast mine hydro energy bid submitted

Glenmuckloch Image copyright Other
Image caption Developers say the Glenmuckloch site "naturally lends itself" to the hydro scheme

An application has been submitted to create a hydro energy and storage system at an opencast mine site in southern Scotland.

The pumped storage hydro (PSH) scheme would be constructed at Glenmuckloch near Kirkconnel.

It is claimed the venture by Buccleuch and 2020 Renewables could create and store up to 400MW of electricity.

They said 300 people would be needed during the construction phase with about 15 operational staff thereafter.

Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Hydro Ltd has submitted the application to the Scottish government.

John Glen, chief executive of Buccleuch, said: "Glenmuckloch is undergoing a remarkable transformation following a hugely uncertain future just three and a half years ago.

"The successful restoration of the mine is well under way but due consideration must be given to the future life of the site beyond that.

"We are at a very early stage in this process and the section 36 application is one step in that overall process."

'Substantial investment'

He said it would be "premature" to say the scheme would definitely proceed but if it did it would be one of a small number in the UK.

"To make it successful, it would require substantial investment and commitment from a range of stakeholders," he said.

PSH works by releasing water from a higher waterbody to a lower one and passing it through a turbine or series of turbines to generate electricity.

Water is then pumped back up the hill and stored in the upper reservoir until further electricity is required.

Alan Baker, managing director of 2020 Renewables, said: "One of the legacies of the Glenmuckloch mine is an 18 million cubic metre hole in the ground which means the site naturally lends itself to consideration of a PSH scheme."

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