Scottish energy ministry approves 600-MW Choire Ghlais pumped-storage hydropower project

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Plans for the 600-MW Choire Ghlais pumped-storage hydropower project have been given the go-ahead by Scottish Minister of Energy Fergus Ewing, opening the door for a plant that could eventually supply as much as 10% of the country's peak electricity demand.

Developer Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) Renewables announced it had gained unanimous support for Choire Ghlais (also called "Coire Glas") from the Scottish Highland Council in November 2012 after filing an application seeking government approval in February of that year.

Ewing's approval gives SSE planning permission. Work on the project is expected to take up to six years and will create a projected 150 jobs.

"With warnings that Great Britain capacity margins will be tight over the coming decade, this station can provide a valuable contribution to security of supply," Ewing said. "It is unique in the U.K. in comparison to other existing pumped-storage schemes in its ability to release energy to the electricity grid for extended periods, offering an estimated 50 hours of continuous operation."

The project has not been without its detractors, however, who are worried that the infrastructure work needed to build Choire Ghlais could have a negative impact on wildlife.

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