£160m pumped storage facility at Llanberis can go ahead

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A £160m pumped storage facility in North Wales that will make a significant contribution to the UK’s stability of energy supply, has been given the go-ahead by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Energy and infrastructure specialists at GVA’s Planning team in Cardiff submitted the application for a DCO (development consent order) for the 99.9MW facility, classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, given the size of the scheme.

To be developed by Snowdonia Pumped Hydro Ltd (SPH), the pumped storage scheme can now proceed at the Glyn Rhonwy and Chwarel Fawr quarries, near Llanberis in North Wales. It is expected to have an operational life of around 125 years and support up to 30 full time local jobs, as well as hundreds during construction.

It will comprise two 1,300,000 cubic metre reservoirs linked by a 1.6km underground pipeline via a 99.9MW capacity turbine hall approximately 70m below ground level.  The system uses electricity to pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir.  When required, the water is then released through a hydro-turbine to generate electricity to meet sudden spikes in consumer electricity demand.  This cycle of pumping and generating repeats on a daily basis.

The scheme is the first of a series of schemes that SPH parent company Quarry Battery Company intends to develop throughout the UK.

Electricity storage facilities are recognised in National Policy Statement EN-1 and in National Grid’s ‘Future Energy Scenarios’ as an important part of the toolkit for balancing the intermittency of renewable energy generation.

Ben Lewis, GVA Director in Cardiff who advised SPH on the planning, commented: “The need for grid-scale storage is now firmly on the UK Government’s agenda.  As the UK moves towards an increased proportion of its electricity being generated from renewable sources, there is an increasing requirement for grid-scale batteries to balance supply and demand across the grid.  Pumped storage is one of the most efficient ways to provide these batteries.  We are delighted to be involved in such an exciting project.”

GVA has been working with a legal and consultancy team including Burges Salmon and AECOM on the project.