Aplan to create an innovative energy park at the former Glenmuckloch open cast coal mine in Dumfries and Galloway took a significant step forward late in 2016 when the Scottish government gave consent for a pumped storage hydro scheme of up to 400 MW on the site. The project would make a major contribution to energy provision and bring back to life the former opencast site, which has ceased commercial coaling and is now undergoing restoration works. It would also create over 250 jobs during a five-year construction programme and at least 15 long term local jobs.

The proposed scheme, a joint venture of Buccleuch and 2020 Renewables, has the potential to become a catalyst for industrial regeneration in the region. Meetings have taken place with the UK government – which sets energy policy – to discuss the need for a stable revenue mechanism that will encourage investment.

Alan Baker, managing director of 2020 Renewables, said: “Pumped storage brings considerable benefits to the country’s energy system. Major pumped storage schemes already exist in Scotland – for example at Foyers and Cruachan – but no new projects have been built in over 30 years.

“The challenge lies in finding the package of support measures which will unlock private investment in the project. We have been working with the UK and Scottish governments and others to find a way to make this work. A successful project will be a major driver of economic activity and growth across the region.”