SIX renewable energy projects currently under development in Scotland could create 15,000 jobs and generate billions for the economy, according to a new report.

But energy bosses say the UK Government must act “urgently” to confirm investment and secure the pumped-storage hydro projects.

Pumped-storage hydro is a type of renewable energy that uses surplus created during times of high supply to fill in the gaps during times of low supply.

READ MORE: Scotland has 'lion's share' of world's tidal energy potential – and chance to use it

In a simple example, two reservoirs at varying elevations would be used. If wind power is delivering high levels of energy at one moment, the surplus is used to pump water up to the higher reservoir.

Later, if the wind is not blowing, then the water is released to flow back to the lower reservoir, turning a turbine as it goes to produce power and plug any gaps in the renewable system.

Such projects are seen as essential to a stable renewable energy network as they can help compensate for the variable output from sources such as solar and offshore wind.

However, the UK has just four pumped-storage hydro facilities, which were all commissioned between 1963 and 1984.

A new report from BiGGAR Economics, commissioned by Scottish Renewables and called The Economic Impact of Pumped Storage Hydro, calls for this to change.

It says Scotland has the potential to more than double the UK’s pumped storage hydro capacity to 7.7GW, create almost 15,000 jobs, and generate up to £5.8 billion for the UK economy by 2035.

The UK currently has a pumped hydro capacity of 2.8GW, the report states, but the six Scottish projects in the works could add 4.9GW to this. These projects are slated for locations across the country, from Dumfries and Galloway to Argyll and Bute to the Highlands.

The National:

Scottish Renewables said it is calling on the UK Government to “urgently deliver the measures it has promised to enable investment in large-scale, long-duration energy storage so developers can deliver the existing pipeline of ‘shovel ready’ pumped-storage hydro projects”.

Andrew MacNish Porter, policy manager for economics and markets at Scottish Renewables, said: “From this report we know that pumped-hydro storage is uniquely placed to deliver socio-economic benefits to communities across the UK and, as an established and proven technology, it will play a crucial role in achieving the UK Government’s net-zero ambitions and delivering energy security for consumers.

“However, an investment framework is needed to secure the massive capital investment required for these projects. We therefore urgently need the UK Government to clarify its support for pumped-storage hydro and deliver the required policy support to unlock the huge value these projects promise to deliver.”

READ MORE: 'Conspiracy' to hide extent of oil wealth from Scotland's people, Tom Devine says

Finlay McCutcheon, the director of Onshore Renewables (Europe) at SSE Renewables said: “The case for pumped storage hydro is clear: as evidenced in BiGGAR Economics’ report, projects including SSE Renewables’ Coire Glas will not only play a critical role in decarbonising the UK’s electricity system and reducing consumer bills but will help unlock billions of pounds of investment and create thousands of skilled jobs across the country.

“We stand ready to invest in this vital technology and call on the UK Government to urgently confirm its intention for a market investment framework to facilitate the deployment of pumped storage hydro projects so that the sector can reach its vast potential.”

The Economic Impact of Pumped Storage Hydro report was jointly funded by Buccleuch, Drax, Foresight Group, Intelligent Land Investments Group, and SSE Renewables.