Renewables: storage focus

Friday 4th March 2016

As GE launches Current, an energy company to integrate GE's LED, solar, energy storage and electric vehicle buinsess with its Predix platform to identify cost effect and efficient approaches, ScottishPower plans to more than double the size of its hydro-electric power station built inside a mountain to help store renewable energy. A feasibility study shows Cruachan hydro power station in Argyll can be expanded - increasing current generating capacity from 440mw by 400-600mw.

Costs of up to some £400 million however will styme the development unless ScottishPower can secure a guaranteed floor price for its use from Government, in exchange for a cap on the profits.

If Scotland wants to move into the energy market effectively, far more energy storage capacity will be needed. And across the UK energy storage is essential if renewable energy projects are to come on line and be available  to the National Grid. The major expansion would create some 800 construction jobs.

Located inside Ben Cruachan,  the power station spumps water 400 metres uphill at night from Loch Awe to a dam at the top of the mountain, when energy generated by wind farms is cheap - acting as a battery and storing that energy - letting water flow downhill in daytime to generate electricity when demand is high and power expensive.

 "A new generation of pumped storage hydro would be a major asset for electricity systems world wide as more renewable electricity continues to come online, says (left) Hugh Finlay, Scottish Power's generation director. "As well as being able to further support peak demand, expanded pumped storage would also be able to effectively store greater levels of electricity at times when renewable energy output is high but demand is low.

"Pumped storage hydro is the most cost-effective and well-developed large-scale electricity storage technology in existence. We will now take our Cruachan findings forward with Government and regulators."

 GE, a first-of-its kind energy company that integrates GE’s LED, Solar, Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle businesses with its industrial strength Predix platform to identify and deliver the most cost effective, efficient energy approach required by customers today and in the future.

Maryrose Sylvester, (right) who as President and CEO at GE Lighting has led the transformation of one of the company’s most iconic businesses, will lead the new enterprise. Current is backed by GE’s balance sheet and financing expertise, and committed to successfully advancing ecomagination-certified technology solutions, new business models and Predix solutions for the energy sector.

Wind energy: underground and overhead cable transmission 
Balfour Beatty are awarded a £35m contract for the design and construction of the 110MW Bhlaraidh and 110MW Beinneun wind farm connections near Fort Augustus in Scotland. The work for SSE's transmission arm involves the design and construction of a new substation, refurbishment of two existing substations, the connection of a fourth substation built by a developer, the design and installation of a 7.5km 132kV underground cable and the refurbishment of 21km of overhead line. Construction work is due to start in April and be completed in the spring of 2017. At  its peak, the project will employ 120 people.

Scottish Hydro Electric manager of major customer connection projects Keith Inglis said: “These works are being delivered to tight timescales and it is both challenging and exciting that SHE Transmission is introducing a new and innovative overhead line conductor to its network to help enable these connections.”

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