The Anonymous Widower

Angus Peter Campbell: I’m In Two Minds About The Renewable Energy Revolution

The title of the post, is the same as that of this article in the Aberdeen Press and Journal.

This is the sub-heading.

The debate (argument) between development and environmentalism is as old as the hills.

In the article, Campbell puts all sides of the arguments over the Coire Glas pumped storage hydro-electric scheme, and the article is very much a must read.

I feel that this 1500 MW/30 GWh scheme should be built, as like Hinckley Point C and Sizewell C, it takes a large bite out of the new energy storage capacity that is needed.

But if we do build this large project, we should think very hard about how we do it.

These are a few thoughts.

Low Carbon, Disturbance And Noise During Construction

High Speed Two are doing this and I wrote about it in HS2 Smashes Carbon Target.

I do subject though, that increasingly large construction projects can go this way.

Electric Trucks, Cranes And Other Equipment

High Speed Two and big mining companies are increasingly using electric mining trucks, cranes and other equipment.

As this sort of equipment, also provides a better environment for workers, I suspect we’ll see more electric equipment.

Hydrogen Trucks And Construction Equipment

Hydrogen could play a big part and rightly so.

It is ideal for heavier equipment and one of its biggest advocates and developers is JCB.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a decision about an onsite electrolyser being made soon.

Low Carbon Concrete

There are various methods of making low- and zero-carbon concrete, some of which incorporate carbon dioxide into the material.

Use Of Loch Lochy And The Caledonian Canal

I wouldn’t be surprised if just as the Thames in London was used in the construction of Crossrail and the Northern Line extension, Loch Lochy and The Caledonian Canal will be used to take out construction spoil.

There’s certainly a lot of ways to be innovative in the movement of men and materials.


The construction of Coire Glas will make an epic documentary.


April 6, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Creation Of The Coire Glas Monster

Loch Ness is probably most famous for the mythical monster, but it is about to be joined by a man-made monster of a different kind.

To the South-West of Loch Ness lies Loch Lochy.

This Google Map shows the South-Western part of the Great Glen, which runs diagonally across the Highlands from Fort William in the South-West to Inverness in the North-East.


  1. Fort Augustus in the North-East corner of the map, is at the South-West end of Loch Ness.
  2. In the South-West corner of the map, Loch Lochy can be seen.
  3. To the North-West of Loch Lochy, there are mountains.

This second Google Map shows Loch Lochy and the mountains.

SSE plan to create a pumped storage hydroelectric power station called Coire Glas.

  • Loch Lochy will be the lower reservoir.
  • The upper reservoir will be in the mountains to the North-West of the loch.
  • Energy will be stored by pumping water from the lower to the higher reservoir.
  • The power station will be able to provide 1.5 GW of electricity.
  • The upper reservoir will be able to store enough water to generate 30 GWh of electricity.

If that isn’t a monster of a power station, I don’t know what is! It has more than three times the storage capacity of both Dinorwig or Cruachan.

This article on Utility Week, which is entitled Inside £1bn Pumped Hydro Plans To ‘More Than Double’ Britain’s Electricity Storage, gives more details.

This is the sort of heroic engineering, that will defeat Vlad the Mad and his bloodstained gas.


August 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 2 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

Power Storage Is The Next Big Net Zero Challenge

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Opinion from Bloomberg.

This is the sub-heading.

Britain’s pioneering plans for renewable energy show the global need could be massive. The means don’t yet exist.

The opinion is very much a well-written must-read.

One new project the article mentions is a 30 GWh pumped storage project at Coire Glas in the Scottish Highlands, that is planned by SSE.

I discuss this scheme in The Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme.


Bloomberg didn’t say it, but this pumped storage scheme could give the UK energy security.

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 9 Comments