Next step reached for development of Wales’ Glyn Rhonwy pumped-storage hydro

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The Crown Estate has agreed to lease 13 hectares of land in North Wales to Snowdonia Pumped Hydro for its 99.9-MW Glyn Rhonwy pumped-storage facility.

This will be Britain’s first new grid-scale electricity storage facility for more than 30 years, according to a press release issued by Sage Partnership on behalf of project owner and developer Snowdonia Pumped Hydro.

The facility is anticipated to cost £160 million (US$242.8 million) to develop. It will utilize two abandoned slate quarries, Glyn Rhonwy and Chwarel Fawr. The project would include the construction of a 20-meter-high dam on the upper reservoir at Chwarel Fawr and a 15-meter-high dam on the lower reservoir at Glyn Rhonwy.

The powerhouse is expected to be operational by 2019, and about 30 personnel will be retained at that time. Glyn Rhonwy is expected to be operating for 125 years, according to the proess release.

HydroWorld.com reported in December 2014 that capacity of the powerhouse was to be increased by 50 MW over the original 49.9 MW.

The scheme will contribute to the British government’s goal of facilitating more energy generation from renewable sources, meanwhile mitigating energy loss caused by insufficient storage capacity.

Quarry Battery Company is the parent organization of Snowdonia Pumped Hydro. “By continuing to utilize unconventional sites such as the abandoned quarry on The Crown Estate’s land, Britain can realize an additional 15 GW of grid-scale storage using pumped hydro technology alone,” said Peter Taylor, chairman of Quarry Battery.

The Crown Estate is an independent commercial business that returns all its profits to Treasury. “As an active landowner, we’re always looking for opportunities to enhance the value of our holdings,” said Malcom Burns, portfolio manager for Wales at The Crown Estate.

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