The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On The Balliemeanoch Pumped-Hydro Scheme

I first talked about the Balliemeanoch Pumped-Hydro Scheme in ILI Group To Develop 1.5GW Pumped Storage Hydro Project, which I wrote earlier this month.

I was a bit unsure as to where the high-level reservoir would be sited, although, the original report said the low-level reservoir was Loch Awe.

I then found this in an article on The Scotsman.

Project Balliemeanoch will see Lochan Airigh turned into a headpond containing 58 million cubic metres of water.

This Google Map shows Lochan Airigh.

At not much more than a hundred metres across, you wouldn’t call Lochan Airigh a large loch.

But look at its position compared to the village of Ballimeanoch on the shore of Loch Awe in this Google Map.


The North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board built Cruachan pumped-storage power station round the corner in Loch Awe in the early 1960s, so I would believe construction is possible.

But Cruachan is only a 7.1 GWh scheme, whereas Balliemeanoch is planned as a 45 GWh giant.



February 27, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , ,


  1. Balliemeanoch 45GWh would be big enough to factor in to an attractive package of pumped hydro proposals.

    Suppose there are 3 planned Pumped Storage Hydro (PSH) schemes of different energy storage capacities – for example, SSE Coire Glas @ 30GWh, ILI Balliemeanoch 45GWh* and Glasa Morie Glass 170GWh – and we want to scale the installed power regeneration turbines so that they can all operate with an equal duration of regeneration in a co-ordinated manner to offer the National Grid, OFGEM, BEIS or whatever other customer the opportunity to place an order for a desired total power capacity for a desired duration of regeneration.

    The UK grid customer – assuming that one unified UK grid customer will emerge in due course – may prefer more power for a shorter duration – say prefer 20GW for a duration of only 12.25 hours – in which case Balliemeanoch should instal 3.67GW, in coordination with SSE Coire Glas installing 2.45GW and Glasa Morie Glass installing 13.88GW.

    Or the UK grid customer may prefer less power but for a longer duration. See the graph in my blog post for a representation of all the options with those 3 schemes and what a 4th scheme could offer.

    Scaling 3 or 4 Pumped Storage Hydro Schemes for equal duration regeneration

    There’s been no such coordination or UK master plan for pumped hydro development plans to my knowledge.

    SSE alone decided that Coire Glas was to be 30GWh and 1.5GW for 20 hours.

    Now ILI alone is deciding that Balliemeanoch is to be 45GWh and 1.5GWh for 30 hours.

    Doesn’t look like they are coordinating with each other and I know neither of them are coordinating with me.

    It’s all somewhat shambolic, sadly. I keep hoping that government will step in and get a grip.

    Comment by Scottish Scientist | February 27, 2022 | Reply

  2. The figure of “13GW” of large-scale long duration grid energy storage needed for the UK has been knocking around for a while since the National Grid mentioned “13GW” in its Future Energy Scenarios.

    Then recently, the figure “24GW” as actually what was really needed was suggested by a consultant hired by power companies. So –

    Scaling 3 or more Pumped Storage Hydro schemes for a total power of 13GW or 24GW

    If and when the UK decides what power, energy storage and duration of regeneration the UK grid will need and will pay for – then developers would be better able to fine tune their PSH designs to meet the requirements.

    Comment by Scottish Scientist | February 28, 2022 | Reply

    • I do think we’re going to see firm announcements soon for at least a couple of North-South interconnectors, which if the example of the North Sea Link is followed can be installed on time and on budget. They would connect East Anglian and Yorkshire wind farms to Scottish storage, as there are few if any places in the South to build a 10 GWh energy storage facility South of the Border.

      The only other thing, that can be done with the surplus energy, is to convert it to hydrogen and store it in depleted gas fields or blend it with our natural gas supply.

      Comment by AnonW | February 28, 2022 | Reply

  3. […] Thoughts On The Balliemeanoch Pumped-Hydro Scheme, I analyse the […]

    Pingback by Scotland’s Energy Storage « The Anonymous Widower | March 2, 2022 | Reply

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