A CLEAN energy development company given consent to build a pumped storage hydro (PSH) facility at Loch Ness is seeking permission to build another at Loch Ericht, in the Highlands.

Intelligent Land Investments (ILI) Group specialises in PSH, which uses two water reservoirs at different elevations to generate power as water moves down from one to the other passing through a turbine.

ILI said its new project at Corrievarkie, near Ben Alder, will be able to supply 600MW of power for up to 24 hours – enough to power 1.4 million homes in one of the largest schemes in Scotland.

It will create a new “head pond” in the hills above Loch Ericht, which will hold 22m cubic metres of water when full.

In June, Scottish ministers approved the company’s first £550m PSH project – Red John at Loch Ness – which saw a salmon farm ordered to relocate 220 metres from the site it had occupied for 30 years.

Work has not yet started there.

ILI said the broader adoption of such energy storage projects is seen as essential to the further deployment of renewables and critical to meeting climate targets.

Last month the UK Government launched a call for evidence on facilitating the deployment of large-scale, long-duration electricity storage, asking for feedback on removing development barriers.

ILI’s CEO Mark Wilson said: “Our latest pumped storage project at Loch Ericht will help offset over 83m tons of CO2 over its lifetime, helping the further deployment of renewable energy and reducing reliance on fossil fuel generators.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of long-duration storage projects like these to the UK, as we see the increase in the effects of climate change across the world.

“The recent IPCC report on climate change makes for depressing reading and is another wake-up call to world leaders that further steps need to be taken now to avert disaster.

The benefits for these projects will extend past climate bringing up to £3 billion in construction investment into the UK and Scotland, creating thousands of new jobs as we exit the Covid crisis.

Eddie Rich, CEO of the International Hydropower Association, (IHA), added: “Backing up the grid for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, is the ignored crisis within the crisis.

“Pumped storage hydro facilities like Corrievarkie and Red John are an essential element of any de-carbonised electricity system.”