Foresight Group invests in 1.6GWh pumped hydro energy storage and wind project in Scotland


Asset manager Foresight Group has invested in a co-located 1.6GWh pumped hydro energy storage and wind project in Scotland.

The project, at the disused 1,547-acre Glenmuckloch opencast coal mine near Kirkconnel, will see the construction of a 210MW/1,600MWh capacity pumped hydro energy storage plant along with a 33.6MW wind farm.

The eight-hour system (7.62 to be exact) will utilise two 105MW reversible hydroturbines and help balance the UK grid as more renewable energy resources come online. The adjoining wind farm will comprise eight 4.2MW turbines and will be able to power the pumped hydro plant.

Foresight Group, which describes itself as a sustainability-led alternative assets and SME investment manager, has made the investment through its energy transition fund Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners.

The firm did not reveal the amount invested in the project, but Britain’s national broadcaster BBC reported in May last year that the project required £250 million (US$285 million) of investment to be completed. The project was approved by the Scottish government in 2016.

Foresight has not provided any information regarding the start of construction or when it expects the project to become operational. This could mean that it is not putting in the full amount required for the project’s completion, meaning it will presumably look to bring other partners on board to get the project off the ground.

The firm provided with the following statement in response to a request for comment: “The project will be funded through Foresight’s sustainability-led energy transition fund, FEIP (Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners). The project is currently in the pre-construction development phase. Foresight is not yet disclosing the planned connection date.”

The UK has only four energy storage sites operational today using the century-old technology, including Drax’s 440MW facility at Cruachan Dam, pictured, also in Scotland.

Another proposed project is the Coire Glas Pumped Hydro project, also in Scotland, whose proponents wrote an article for a year ago about the potential of the technology to help the UK meet its net zero targets.

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