The Anonymous Widower

Shin Hydro Power Scheme

The Shin hydro-electric scheme was built in the 1930s and 1950s, by the North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board.

  • The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site.
  • There are three individual power stations; Casseley, Lairg and Shin.
  • There are two dams

This map from the SSE Renewables web site shows the layout of the dams and power stations.

The sizes of the power stations in the scheme are as follows.

  • Casseley – 10 MW
  • Lairg – 3.5 MW
  • Shin – 18.6 MW

This gives a total power of 32.1 MW.

This Google Map shows the same area as the SSE Renewables Map.


  1. Shin power station is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Loch Shin is the large area of water in the top half of the map.
  3. The village of Lairg is at the South end of Loch Shin.

This Google Map sows Shin power station in detail.


There is a large substation on the left side of the map.

Shin power station is the building straddling the water to the right of the substation.

I have found this informative press release on the SSE web site, which is entitled £5 m Investment In Shin Hydro Station.

These are a couple of paragraphs.

John McDonald, Hydro Manager for SSE said: “This is the first major overhaul of Shin Hydro Station in its 55-year history – a true testament to the reliability and longevity of hydro-electric power.

“There are few other industries that could claim to be making the same product with the same machines and same specifications as they were in the 1950s. This overhaul will mean that Shin will be producing clean, green electricity for decades to come.”

Surely, that is an argument for more hydro schemes.

This Google Map shows Lairg.

Note that there are two dams and a bridge across Loch Shin/River Shin.

This Google Map shows dam at the Southern end of the Loch.

This Google Map shows Lairg dam and power station at the Northern end of the village.

It would appear to be a much simpler scheme, than others I have examined.


I would be very surprised if any pumped storage were to be added to this scheme.



February 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme

The Coire Glas pumped storage scheme, which is being developed by SSE Renewables will be the first large scale pumped storage scheme to be developed in the UK for more than 30 years.

  • It would have a power output of 1.5 GW.
  • Compared to Dinorwig (Electric Mountain) in Wales at 9.1 GWh and Cruachan in Scotland at 7.1 GWh, it will be a giant.
  • Planning permission has been obtained.

The Coire Glas project has a web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Coire Glas is a hydro pumped storage scheme with a potential capacity of up to 1500MW. Coire Glas is an excellent pumped storage site with a large lower reservoir (Loch Lochy) and a significant elevation of more than 500m between the lower and the new upper reservoir site over a relatively short distance.

There is also an explanatory video.

This map was clipped from this SSE planning document.


  1. Loch Lochy in the Great Glen will be the lower reservoir.
  2. Loch Lochy is a freshwater loch, that is up to seventy metres deep.
  3. The top reservoir is formed by building a dam across the stream, that runs into the Northern end of Loch Lochy.
  4. The green line leading from the pentagon in the lake behind the dam towards Loch Lochy is the headrace tunnel.
  5. It leads to the brown rectangle, which is the underground power station.
  6. The blue line leading from the power station, where water is discharged into the loch.
  7. The two orange lines are access tunnels.
  8. The yellow line is the emergency access tunnel.

It is a standard layout for a pumped storage power station.

  • To store electricity, water is pumped from Loch Lochy and stored in the new lake.
  • To generate electricity, water runs down the headrace tunnel, through the turbines and then down the tailrace into Loch Lochy.
  • The power station would have a number of pump/turbines, that can do both tasks.

In addition, any water from rain or snow melt, that runs into the top lake gives low-cost extra electricity.

This layout of the dam and the upper lake was clipped from this SSE planning document.

It would be an impressive structure.

Could this pumped storage scheme give the UK energy security?

February 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment