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SSE plans new hydroelectric plants

Utility giant Scottish and Southern Energy is to approach the Scottish Government on proposals to develop two pumped storage hydroelectric schemes in the Great Glen.

SSE is seeking guidance on an environmental impact statement which will be submitted with planning applications.

If approved, the two plants will be the first pumped storage schemes to be built in the UK since work started on the Dinorwig scheme in Wales in 1974.

Pumped storage schemes generate hydroelectric power by dropping water down pipes built on hillsides to meet demand during peak times.

SSE has just finished a large-scale conventional hydroelectric station at Glendoe, near Loch Ness. The site was being officially opened by the Queen on Monday.

The power generator already owns and operates a 300 megawatt pumped storage scheme at Foyers, on the south side of Loch Ness. It also plans to submit to the Scottish Government an application for consent to develop a 60-megawatt pumped-storage scheme at its existing Sloy hydro electric power station at Loch Lomond.

SSE chief executive Ian Marchant said: “Our goal is to maintain a diversified portfolio of power stations, while achieving a 50 per cent reduction in the carbon dioxide intensity of electricity produced”.