The Anonymous Widower

A Brief History Of Scottish Hydropower

The title of this post, is the same as that of this page on the Drax Group web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Over the last century, Scottish hydro power has played a major part in the country’s energy make up. While today it might trail behind wind, solar and biomass as a source of renewable electricity in Great Britain, it played a vital role in connecting vast swathes of rural Scotland to the power grid – some of which had no electricity as late as the 1960s. And all by making use of two plentiful Scottish resources: water and mountains.

These are some points from the page.

  • The first scheme was built in the last years of the nineteenth century and provided power for aluminium smelting.
  • The first modern scheme was the Lanark Hydro Electric Scheme, which was built in the 1920s and is still running today, under the ownership of Drax Group.
  • In 1935, the Galloway scheme, set the tone for later projects with architecture including stylised dams and modernist turbine halls.
  • The North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board was founded in 1943.
  • Sloy, the largest conventional hydro-electric station opened in 1950 and has a capacity of 152.5 MW.
  • Building the dams and power stations appears to have been hard but well-paid work.
  • By the mid Sixties, the North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board had built 54 main power stations and 78 dams. Northern Scotland was now 90% connected to the national grid.
  • In 1965, the world’s then largest reversible pumped storage power station opened at Cruachan.
  • In 2009, the last major scheme at Glendoe opened.

The schemes are a working catalogue of everything you can do with water to generate and store electricity.

Future development now seems to be moving in two directions.

The Drax page says this about new hydro-electric schemes.

In recent years, however, the real growth has been in smaller hydro-electric schemes that may power just one or a handful of properties – with more than 100 MW of such generation capacity installed in the Highlands since 2006.

On the other hand, several large pumped storage schemes are under development.

Note.

These schemes add up to an output of just over 4 GW and a colossal 92.3 GWh of storage.

The existing Foyers scheme and the under-development Coire Glas and Red John schemes. all use Loch Ness as the lower reservoir.

Two of these under-development schemes will be larger than the current largest pumped storage system in the world; Bath County Pumped Storage Station in Virginia in the United States, which is a 3 GW/24 GWh system.

Conclusion

Adding large numbers of wind turbines and tens of GWs to Scotland’s existing pumped storage could transform not just Scotland’s but most of Western Europe’s green energy production.

 

February 14, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , ,

11 Comments »

  1. “a colossal 92.3 GWh of storage”

    That’s smaller that the 170GWh offered by this single scheme.

    Glasa Morie Glass Pumped-Storage Hydro Scheme
    https://scottishscientist.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/glasa-morie-glass-pumped-storage-hydro-scheme/

    Comment by Scottish Scientist | February 16, 2022 | Reply

  2. “a colossal 92.3 GWh of storage”

    That’s A LOT smaller than this truly colossal PSH scheme!

    Power from 40GW to 1000GW
    Energy Storage from 500GWh to 6800GWh
    STRATHDEARN PUMPED-STORAGE HYDRO SCHEME
    World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?

    World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?

    Comment by Scottish Scientist | February 16, 2022 | Reply

  3. “the under-development Coire Glas and Red John schemes. all use Loch Ness as the lower reservoir”

    Coire Glas uses LOCH LOCHY as the lower reservoir NOT “Loch Ness”!
    https://www.coireglas.com/

    Comment by Scottish Scientist | February 16, 2022 | Reply

  4. The Bath County PSH has NEVER been the biggest PSH in terms of energy storage.

    The reigning world champion since 1960 is

    The Gianelli Power Plant, also known as the San Luis Power Plant
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gianelli_Power_Plant

    and its energy storage capacity is a magnificent 126GWh!

    Comment by Scottish Scientist | February 16, 2022 | Reply

    • I was only using figures from Wikipedia, as I know if they’re wrong someone will correct it.

      Thanks!

      Comment by AnonW | February 16, 2022 | Reply

      • Your figures for Bath County PSH are correct – 3GW/24GWh – and 3GW is the most powerful PSH in the world, but 24GWh isn’t the largest energy storage capacity.

        Wikipedia’s figures for Gianelli PSH are also correct – 0.42GW/126GWh – and 126GWh is the biggest energy storage capacity in the world but its power of 0.42GW is unremarkable.

        Both figures – power and energy storage capacity are important in specifying an energy storage project.

        The battery salesmen always mention battery power but they often forget to mention the battery’s modest energy storage capacity because batteries are not competitive against pumped hydro on energy storage capacity.

        Comment by Scottish Scientist | February 16, 2022

      • I’m currently in the Chilterns on a Chiltern Train. Some of the hills look higher than I expected. I do wonder if we could see some of Rheenergise’s systems using a heavy liquid in places like this. The highest point of the Chilterns is 267 metres and Rheenergise use a fluid with a specific gravity of 2.5. Dig it underground on the size of the hill and it could be a useful battery.

        Comment by AnonW | February 16, 2022

  5. “Adding large numbers of wind turbines and tens of GWs to Scotland’s existing pumped storage could transform not just Scotland’s but most of Western Europe’s green energy production.”

    Scaling the number of GWs and GWhs of energy storage required to the number of GWs of Wind turbines is best done using system design tool like this.

    Wind, solar, storage and back-up system designer for 100% renewable energy grids and microgrids with 24/7/52 power-on-demand! Free online calculator tool!

    Wind, solar, storage and back-up system designer

    Comment by Scottish Scientist | February 16, 2022 | Reply

    • The above link is to a blog post explaining all about the system designer calculator tool.

      You can go directly to the tool itself with this link.
      http://re100.scienceontheweb.net/

      Comment by Scottish Scientist | February 16, 2022 | Reply

      • I was doing things like that in the 1970s. At ICI, it was trying to get the dynamics of multi-vessel chemical plants correct and then my software was used to plan the drinking water and reservoir capacity for Southern England.

        With respect to the latter, it was done by a guy called Dave Dimeloe. I wonder, if he’s still of this parish?

        Comment by AnonW | February 16, 2022

  6. Thanks!

    Comment by AnonW | February 16, 2022 | Reply


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