Energy storage facility hopes to double capacity.
APROPOSED energy storage facility in North Wales could be doubled in capacity if new plans submitted by its developer are approved.
Snowdonia Pumped Hydro, which intends to build the 600MWh (megawatt hours) pumped electricity storage facility at Glyn Rhonwy near Llanberis under planning approval granted in late 2013, is applying to increase the output of the facility from 49.9MW (megawatts) to 99.9MW.
The company says that the proposed change in output would be achieved by increasing the capacity of the underground turbines and associated equipment, with the revised facility otherwise remaining identical to that already approved by Gwynedd Council.
The decision to apply for the change has been reached following talks with the UK Government's Department of Energy and Climate Change and construction company partners.
Britain's energy needs have evolved since the scheme was designed and the Government has included storage within the 2014 Electricity Market Reform Act, with the aim of helping to ensure that Britain does not suffer blackouts.
The higher output will enable the facility to play a larger role in the new market, making it more useful in balancing supply and demand as the percentage of renewables supplying power to the UK's electricity grid continues to increase. With construction work due to begin next year, the application to amend the output of is being made to the UK Planning Inspectorate which has responsibility for power generation installations with outputs of 50MW or more.
Gwynedd Council, along with other local stakeholders that also gave their assent to the original scheme, will be the Planning Inspectorate's primary consultees.
"The revised scheme is identical in every respect to the original one, save for the size of the buried equipment," said SPH managing director Dave Holmes. "I can't say this any more clearly: nothing above ground would change.
"The capacity of the facility would remain 600 MWh, the overall footprint of the site would stay the same, the reservoirs and dams would remain the same, the pipe that connects the two reservoirs would be the same size and remain buried, and the plant house on the Glyn Rhonwy industrial park would also remain the same size.
"To achieve the increase in output we would simply install larger turbines and associated equipment underground. It's therefore hugely frustrating for us, and for all the stakeholders consulted as part of the original planning process, that we have to go around the block again.
"However, we're doing it because with the change in the UK's energy landscape as a result of the creation of the capacity market, the gains from the uplift in output both for the scheme and for the local community are overwhelmingly positive."
Raising the output of the facility to 99.9MW would be expected to generate rates payments to Gwynedd Council of approximately PS600,000 a year. In addition, QBC has pledged to establish an independent trust to manage community contributions from the facility, including an initial grant of PS325,000 and annual payments of PS15,000.
Snowdonia Pumped Hydro was created by parent company Quarry Battery Company to take the Glyn Rhonwy scheme forward to construction and operation.
QBC was founded from a concept developed at the Centre For Alternative Technology near Machynlleth. The company's scheme for Glyn Rhonwy was designed in consultation with AECOM, Gwynedd Council, Cadw, Countryside Council For Wales and Environment Agency Wales, now Natural Resources Wales.
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Dec 3, 2014|
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