Green light for pumped hydro project

Lower Glyn Rhonwy Quarry, Wales.

Lower Glyn Rhonwy Quarry, Wales. Photo credit: Eric Jones

It might not be the biggest project of its kind, but at half a gigawatt the Glyn Rhonwy pumped-storage hydroelectricity scheme is still a milestone in grid-scale energy storage in the UK. And as of September 2 it has been the given official go-ahead to begin construction.

Originally proposed by The Quarry Battery Company in 2006, Glyn Rhonwy in North Wales will use a pair of abandoned quarries and should go online in 2017, if everything goes to plan. Since it makes a virtue of re-using existing brownfield sites, the project boasts additional green credentials on top of enhancing the viability of intermittent local wind power.

The pipeline linking the upper and lower reservoirs will be sited underground to minimise the impact on the site’s natural beauty. In fact, the only real grounds for complaint is that construction of the two bodies of water, holding over a billion litres of water, will submerged some much-loved recreational climbing sites.

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