PROPOSALS for a green energy project at an opencast near Kirkconnel have been given the green light.

Scottish Minister granted permission for the energy scheme at the Glenmuckloch opencast site in Kirkconnel.

The Scottish government approved the plans for the construction and operation of a pumped storage hydro (PSH) electricity generation station that will employ around 327 workers in its construction phase and create up to 15 permanent jobs.

The site of the Glenmuckloch pumped storage hydro (PSH) electricity generation station in Dumfries and Galloway is currently operated as a surface coal mine.

Buccleuch worked alongside 2020 Renewables to develop the plans and they say that the scheme would be capable of generating up to 400MW of electricity and would provide energy for the National Grid in times of peak demand.

Pumped storage hydro works by releasing water from a higher waterbody to a lower one and passing it through a turbine or series of turbines to generate electricity. Water is then pumped back up the hill and stored in the upper reservoir until further electricity is required.

Hannah Smith, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Renewable energy is already providing jobs, investment and direct financial benefits to the communities of South West Scotland.

"The Glenmuckloch development is a perfect example of how green energy projects can make use of the infrastructure of the past and rejuvenate the local economy.

“Pumped storage hydropower allows excess energy generated throughout the day to be stored and used when it’s needed.

“It is vital that the UK Government works to recognise the potential of this technology if we are to realise these benefits across the country.”

The plans were given the go ahead by Scottish Ministers. Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown said: “Renewable energy sources generated more than 56 per cent of gross electricity consumption in Scotland in 2015, helping support our world-leading ambitions to become a low-carbon economy.

“The Scottish Government believes there is a huge opportunity around pumped storage hydro. This tried and tested technology can support peak demand and effectively store greater levels of electricity at times when renewable energy output is high but demand is low.”

“With an installed capacity of up to 400 MW, and supporting 327 temporary and up to 15 permanent jobs, the Glenmuckloch station will help support the local economy in Dumfries and Galloway and support the growth of renewables in Scotland’s energy mix.”

Local MP, David Mundell welcomed the move.

The Dumfriesshire MP said:

"This is a very welcome announcement for the communities of Upper Nithsdale where I am always pushing for investment to help boost the local economy.

"Buccleuch and 2020’s plans for a major development will help sustain jobs in the region and I am very excited to see how the project progresses.

“I hope this scheme can bring significant long-term energy benefits to Upper Nithsdale and I will work to ensure the continuing discussions with the UK Government can help to secure the scheme’s long-term future.”

Source: Cumnock Chronicle

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