THERE is a lot of misinformation about the proposed “Red John” pumped hydro
scheme in your article (“Public inquiry into £625 million green energy plan
at Loch Ness”, The Herald, January 20).
In its description of the scheme the article uses the words “huge” and
“massive”, but the vital statistic of gigawatt hours stored is omitted. And
Brian Wilson states that pumped hydro “is the obvious answer in Scotland”
to the uncontrollability of wind and solar output.
The reality, as Sir David MacKay, former Chief Scientific Advisor to the
Department of Energy and Climate Change calculated would be that Britain
would need thousands of pumped hydro schemes to stand a chance of smoothing
out wind and solar energy.
Mark Wilson of ILI, the company behind the scheme, makes a similar
disingenuous statement. He says wind and solar “can provide constant power
when backed up by storage”. The amount of storage that Britain could
feasibly deploy in the foreseeable future could be totally discharged in
minutes if our future wind and solar capacity were to be dependent on it
for constant power.
Energy doesn’t like to be stored; it likes to be distributed throughout the
Geoff More, Alness.
THE proposed “Red John” pumped storage hydro power at Loch Ness has been
refused planning permission. You quoted Brian Wilson describing the need
for back-up because of the intermittency of renewable generation. But
nearly all forms of generation show a mismatch between generation and
demand, as can easily be seen on Grid Watch (
It would be equally correct to say that back-up is needed because of the
inflexibility of nuclear and coal-fired power – described by Professor Win
Rampen (Professor of Energy Storage at University of Edinburgh) as
“intransigence”. Either way we need to expand energy storage. Whatever
happened to the proposal to double the size of the storage facility under
Ben Cruachan?
Neill Simpson, East Dunbartonshire

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