INDUSTRY leaders have told the Tory government to urgently address the “lack of sufficient policy support” for a key type of renewable power.

In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, the heads of representative bodies Scottish Renewables and the British Hydropower Association called on Rishi Sunak to act on the “critically important” issue of pumped-storage hydro power.

Pumped-storage hydro (PSH) is a renewable technology that uses surplus during times of high supply to fill in the gaps during times of low supply.

Energy surplus is used to pump water up from the low ground. When energy production is low, water is released to flow downwards, turning a turbine as it goes to produce power.

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In their letter to the Prime Minister, the industry bosses said: “We are writing on the need for the accelerated delivery of an investment mechanism to support the deployment of large-scale, long-duration electricity storage (LLES) which would reduce consumer bills, greenhouse gas emissions and our reliance on imported fossil fuels.”

It goes on: “A recent Scottish Renewables report found that six PSH projects currently under development could deliver £5.8 billion GVA [Gross Value Added] and almost 15,000 jobs by 2035.

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“However, despite these projects promising to deliver energy security, savings to consumers and huge economic benefits across GB, no new PSH capacity has been constructed in over 40 years because of a lack of sufficient policy support.

“There is currently 6.85GW of planned PSH projects with over 135GWh of storage capacity. If built, these projects would quintuple the total current electricity storage volume in GB.

“However, while the development of these projects is rapidly progressing, developers await the Government’s decision and implementation of a suitable revenue stabilisation mechanism before a commitment to construct such projects can be made.”

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The letter was signed by Claire Mack (above), the chief executive of Scottish Renewables, and Kate Gilmartin, her counterpart at the British Hydropower Association.

It follows another letter from Humza Yousaf to Sunak, sent in May, which also urged the Tory leader to “support the development of long-duration energy storage (including pumped hydro storage) through an appropriate market support mechanism”.

Andrew MacNish Porter, a policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said there were six “shovel-ready projects” in Scotland that should be started “right away”.

But he added that the Prime Minister and the UK Government needed “to deliver an investment framework that will unlock the huge value of pumped storage hydro as soon as possible”.

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A spokesperson for the UK Government’s energy department said: “Technologies such as pumped hydro storage are critical to delivering greater energy security and economic growth, which is why we are removing regulatory and investment barriers to ensure storage can compete alongside other energy solutions.

"The UK has blazed a trail globally for green growth, having already attracted billions for over a decade in green investment and there is huge potential still.

“Scotland has played a key role in this and has benefited hugely from this work. Our plans to power up Britain are expected to attract a further £100 billion investment and support 480,000 jobs across the UK by 2030.”

You can read the industry's full letter to the Prime Minister here.