Scotland can more than double the capacity of its most efficient and fastest working hydropower plant with an investment injection of between £300 million ($416 million) and £400 million ($554 million), Scottish Power's latest study shows Monday.
The study revealed that the Cruachan pumped storage hydro plant near Oban in the west, which has 440 megawatts of capacity and can meet the power demands of more than 200,000 homes, can be extended by a further 400 to 600 megawatts in capacity.
"Cruachan can produce electricity for the grid in two minutes - or 30 seconds if its turbines are already primed," Scottish Power says.
Additionally, "unlike other power stations, Cruachan can also act as a battery. When the turbines are reversed, they use excess electricity from the national grid to pump water back in to the upper reservoir, ultimately storing this energy," Scottish Power underlined.
ScottishPower believes "Cruachan is well placed to help support the grid, given the increasing importance of renewable energy in Scotland, and the increasing need for energy storage."
To increase capacity in the upper reservoir, the construction of new dams along with the excavation of a new cavern within Ben Cruachan mountain where the plant is located, are possibilities, the study shows.
"As well as being able to further support peak demand, expanded pumped storage would also be able to effectively store greater levels of electricity at times when renewable energy output is high but demand is low," said Hugh Finlay, generation director at ScottishPower.
ScottishPower is considering its next steps in the project, which include discussions with the government on potential support mechanisms.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic