The Loch Kemp Pumped Storage Hydro Project is a proposed scheme of up to 600MW that will be developed on the southern shores of Loch Ness, Scotland.

Loch Kemp is being by Statera Energy, a UK-based developer of flexible energy generation and storage technologies.

In December 2023, the planning application of the project was submitted by Statera to the Highland Council of Scotland.

When developed successfully, the pumped storage scheme would deliver renewable power to around 1 million UK homes for 15 hours at full capacity.

The project would increase energy security, reduce future energy costs, enable the net zero target of the Government of the UK, and create 25 long-term jobs for the UK people.

The construction of the project will provide a £30m boost to the Scottish Highland economy, an additional £57m boost to the Scottish economy, and employ over 350 people per year during the four phases of the construction.

The construction of the Loch Kemp Project will commence in 2025 and the main civil engineering construction would take approximately 5 years. The project will commence operations in 2029/2030.

Loch Kemp Location

The Loch Kemp Pumped Storage Hydro Project will be located northeast of Fort Augustus at Whitebridge between Fort Augustus and Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

Loch Kemp Upper Reservoir and Related Facilities

The upper reservoir of the Loch Kemp Pumped Storage Hydro Project will have dams, an upper reservoir with inlet or outlet structures, control kiosks, a security compound, surge shafts, and an underground waterway system with tunnels.

The Loch Kemp would act as the upper reservoir and will be located within the catchment area of the Loch Ness River. Loch Cluanie, a small loch to the east of Loch Kemp, would be inundated after operations and it is connected to Loch Kemp by an outflow from Loch Paiteag running from Loch Paitag into Loch Cluanie. From Loch Cluanie, the outflow would be discharged into Loch Kemp.

Four new saddle dams and four minor cut-off dams would be constructed around Loch Kemp to store water. The dams would be between 16-34m high. The Loch Kemp would be raised to approximately 205m Above Ordnance Datum (AOD) from the existing 177m AOD.

After construction of the dams, up to 21,000,000m3 would be the volume of water required to generate power.

A sub-surface inlet structure would be constructed below the western edge of the upper reservoir and will connect to Loch Kemp. It will be accompanied by a temporary coffer dam between the inlet or outlet structure.

Small control kiosks will be needed for dams 1 to 4 and the upper reservoir inlet or outlet structure. These kiosks will house control system equipment and diesel generators for emergency. The kiosks will be approximately 6*5*3m (length*breadth*height).

A security compound of approximately 25*15*3m will be constructed near the main access junction to the site.

There will be two surge shafts, each with a diameter of approximately 55m, one to the north and south of dam 8 and to the west of the inlet or outlet structure.

The underground waterway system will consist of two headrace tunnels of approximately 1.2km in length. These will carry water between the upper and lower reservoirs. Each turbine will also have a short tailrace tunnel section of approximately 50m in length connecting to the outlet area and lower control works at Loch Ness.

A 250m long approximately short tunnel will connect the access tunnel and vertical cable shaft located south of the Lochan a’ Choin Uire. The vertical cable shaft would be constructed on a hard area of approximately 16*16m.

Loch Kemp Lower Reservoir and Related Facilities

The Loch Ness would act as the lower reservoir of the project and will consist of a lower reservoir with associated infrastructure, a powerhouse platform area, an outlet area and lower control works, a quayside and a pier, and access tunnel portals.

The tailrace structure will be located on the Loch Ness shore and integrated with the powerhouse building. Adjacent to the powerhouse, a platform, a quayside, and a pier will also be constructed.

The lower control works will include up to two concrete inlet/outlet structures at the end of the tailrace tunnels. These structures will supply water in and out of Loch Ness at lower velocities.

The tunnels and lower control works will be situated below the Loch Ness minimum water level of 15.3m AOD.

As a part of the powerhouse platform area on the shore of Loch Ness, a quayside and a pier will be constructed to use the Caledonian Canal System to transport heavy equipment and materials during construction.

The quayside will be constructed for approximately 100m parallel to the Loch Ness shoreline.

The pier will be approximately 50*8m (length*breadth) and extend approximately 40m into Loch Ness from low water level.

To access the project site, access roads would be developed. Some of the roads are as follows: a new junction with the B862 public road to the south of Whitebridge, existing forestry tracks, existing estate access tracks, new access tracks around Loch Ness etc.

A new access tunnel portal will be constructed permanently to provide route from the platform area around lower reservoir to the cable and headrace tunnels. The access tunnel will be 560m long and have a maximum gradient of 1:10.

Powerhouse and Power Transmission Details

A powerhouse building of approximately 130*60*30m will be constructed for the project. Two underground turbine shafts will lie below a turbine hall within the building with each shaft extending approximately 60m below the ground level of the turbine hall.

Each shaft will have up to two reversible pump turbines and motor generators, transformers, and switchgear.

The powerhouse building will also have other facilities for staff and visitors across a three-storey administrative control and maintenance area.

A 275kV cable will connect the project to the national grid. The cable will be routed from the powerhouse building through access and cable tunnels, vertical cable shaft to the west of Lochan a’ Choin Uire.

The cable will be connected to a 275kV switching station to the northeast of Loch Kemp near Dell Farm.

A separate consenting process will be needed to complete the grid connection between the switching station and the point of connection to the national grid at the existing Foyers Substation. The process will be completed by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc (Southern Electricity Networks Transmission, SSEN Transmission).

A grid connection offer has been accepted by Loch Kemp Storage Limited from national grid. A 275kV buried connection has been requested but the route is not confirmed by SSEN till now.

Contractors Involved

Fichtner Consulting Engineers was selected as the consultant to prepare the EIA report of the project.

ASH Design + Assessment Limited and Statera Energy (UK) prepared the non-technical summary of the EIA report of the project.