Energy fund invests in pumped storage hydro, wind project

Energy transition fund Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners (FEIP) has made its first investment in pumped storage hydro technology, to help construct a combined pumped storage and wind facility in Scotland.

The project will be located at the disused 1,547 acre Glenmuckloch opencast coal mine near Kirkconnel, Scotland, and will involve construction of a 210 MW pumped storage plant and a 33.6 MW wind farm. The investment will enhance and aid the balancing of the UK power system, enabling the integration of more renewable generation, according to FEIP.

The press release did not disclose the amount of FEIP’s investment in the project.

The PSH plant will have 1,600 MWh of storage capacity that can be delivered at a rate of 210 MW per hour, providing eight hours of storage. The co-located wind farm will feature eight 4.2 MW turbines and will have the ability, via a direct connection, to power the pumped storage hydro plant.

Pumped storage hydro provides a vital grid support service, building grid resilience, replacing conventional low-efficiency thermal peaking plants, and facilitating the integration of intermittent renewable energy generation technologies, which in turn drives lower electricity prices, according to a release.

“Long duration energy storage has a critical role to play in the UK helping to reduce power prices for bill payers, enhancing security of supply and accelerating the road to net zero by enabling the integration of more renewables on the system,” said Richard Thompson, partner at Foresight. “Foresight is delighted to be making its first long duration energy storage investment in a project that will create such a long lasting environmental legacy through the repurposing of a disused coal mine.”

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The investment will provide many social benefits to the community, including local job creation during project construction and throughout its operation. The introduction of a community benefit fund will see financial support for local community projects, and the creation of two reservoirs will further drive the ecological restoration work that is being undertaken to remediate the scar on the landscape left by the defunct coal operations.

Foresight Group is an infrastructure and private equity investment manager with a long-established focus on ESG and sustainability-led strategies. Foresight manages over 330 infrastructure assets with a focus on solar and onshore wind assets, bioenergy and waste, as well as renewable energy enabling projects, energy efficiency management solutions, social and core infrastructure projects and sustainable forestry assets.

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Author: Elizabeth Ingram

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