Highlands & Islands

Park-and-ride plan for £625m Loch Ness hydro power scheme

An illustration of the pumped storage scheme Image copyright ILI
Image caption An illustration of the planned pumped storage scheme

Highland Council could raise no objections to a £625m hydro power scheme planned for Loch Ness.

Hamilton-based ILI Group has proposed constructing its 450MW Red John pumped storage hydro scheme near Dores.

Highland councillors have previously raised concerns about increased traffic on a rural roads during its construction.

To address this concern, ILI Group has proposed setting up a park-and-ride for construction workers.

Hundreds of workers would be taken to the construction site from a 250-space car park in Inverness' Stadium Drive.

Council planning officers have recommended that councillors raise no objection to the project when the plans are brought back before them next week.

The officials said ILI Group had also sought to address concerns about the visual impact of the scheme.

Due to the size of this project, Scottish ministers will have the final say on the planning application.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The proposed scheme would draw water from Loch Ness

ILI Group said up to 390 people could be involved in the construction of the project and as many as 10 permanent jobs could be created once it was operational.

Pump storage hydro schemes "soak up" excess power generated by wind farms, using it to pump water up to a reservoir.

That water would then be released through tunnels to generate hydro electric power at times when consumers need it.

ILI Group's project would involve pumping water from Loch Ness up to a new "pond".

The developers said the pond would be landscaped to blend in with the nearby natural lochs Duntelchaig, Ashie and Loch na Curra and also Lochan an Eoin Ruadha, from where the development gets the Red John name.

A 100m (328ft) underground "power cavern" and 2,650m-long (8,694ft) pipe would also need to be built for the scheme.

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