Energy project

Landowner behind £3bn Loch Ness hydro plan

Cruise Loch Ness
Loch Ness is drawing attention as a pumped storage location

Another plan to turn a Scottish loch into a source of clean energy will be capable of powering more than a million homes.

Glen Earrach Energy (GEE), a company led by landowner Roderick MacLeod, is behind a £3 billion plan to develop a pumped storage hydro project on the Balmacaan Estate. It will draw water from Loch Ness and would be capable of delivering up to 30 gigawatt-hours of energy.

It is the latest pumped storage project being proposed for Loch Ness. Statkraft, a Norwegian renewables developer is working on a smaller plan.

GEE has begun engaging with local communities, businesses and the government, as it seeks views on how to integrate the project.

It is working with a consortium of advisors – including AECOM, Alpiq, Frontier Economics and LCP-Delta – to take the project forward.

The plan involves taking advantage of Loch Ness’s unique geography. With a height difference exceeding 480 metres between the upper and lower reservoirs, it should be able to maximise power generation, while minimising its impact on its water levels.

Glen Earrach Energy said: “The reservoir will very rarely go from totally full to totally empty. That means 95 per cent of the time the Loch Ness water level will move only a matter of inches, even over extended periods.”.

Mr MacLeod added: “Scotland is a leader in wind power, but the wind doesn’t always blow when we need the energy most – that’s when pumped storage hydro comes in.

“International experts have identified Glen Earrach Energy’s pumped storage hydro project as the most efficient in the UK, possibly even Europe.

“We deeply care about the Balmacaan Estate and are committed to engaging with the local community, businesses and government, so we’re actively seeking their views on how to maximise the project’s positive impact on the area.”

GEE will be hosting its first community engagement event on 24 May at Glenurquhart Public Hall in Drumnadrochit.

The aim is to submit a planning application during the first quarter of 2025, with construction beginning in later that year, or the start of 2026.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked as *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.