400MW pump-storage project proposed for Loch Ness

A 400MW hydro project is proposed for Loch Ness, a freshwater loch 37km south of Inverness best known for its presumed monster.

The Red John pump storage project has been floated by the Intelligent Land Investment Group (ILI), which aims to use surplus wind energy by using it to pump water up from Loch Ness to a newly built head pond. This would then transform electrical into potential energy.

Mark Wilson, ILI’s chief executive, said: "Renewable energy capacity in Scotland has more than doubled since 2007, but due to its intermittent nature there is a need to store surplus energy from sources such as wind so it can be used when we need it most.

A model of the Loch Ness monster (Wikimedia Commons/Immanuel Giel)

"Pump-storage hydro is the largest and cleanest form of energy storage that currently exists – and a key enabler in helping Scotland meet its green energy ambitions. 

"As well as dramatically improving our energy security, this transformational proposal is a fantastic opportunity for the community to benefit from the energy transition while helping turbo-charge Scotland’s decarbonisation efforts."

If the project went ahead, it would employ 200 to 300 staff during construction. 

Top image: Loch Ness (Wikimedia Commons/Sam Fentress)

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]


  1. “400MW” / “2.4GWh” is not nearly big enough to be a gamechanger for renewables in Scotland.

    “400MW” is comparable to the existing pumped hydro schemes in Scotland of Foyers (300MW) and Cruachan (400MW) but “2.4GWh” is lot smaller than Foyers (6.3GWh) and Cruachan (10GWh). It would still be the same game even with Red John.

    SSE’s PSH plan for Coire Glas is bigger and better at 1,500MW and 30GWh – useful but still short of a game-changing energy storage facility for Scotland, which requires of the order of one day’s average intermittent (wind / solar) generation – now about 68GWh in Scotland – but in future years could easily rise to 216GWh equivalent to NINETY (90) Red Johns.

    My own “Scotland Electricity Generation – my plan for 2020” recommends –

    “Total pumped-storage power – 6GW” (6,000MW) “energy stored 216GWh”

    THAT would be a game-changer for Scotland but much more energy storage still will be required to change the game for renewable energy everywhere in these British Isles. For that we’ll need something on a much bigger scale …


    World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?

    Once dubbed “the Loch Ness Monster of Energy Storage”

  2. Excellent idea and perhaps an obvious and overdue response to the increasing diversity/capacity issue. It would be interesting to know what volume of water is to be ‘captured’ under what differential head to offer this capacity and therefore whether there are other sites that might technically and financially lend themselves to such schemes

  3. Unfortunately 400 MW will only be an expensive drip in the ocean.
    A modern nuclear plant will provide three times as much – without need for “cheap” power when there may be too much wind.
    The round trip efficiency (power – hydro – power) will be around 80 % and can not be brushed away down under the carpet.

Comments are closed.

Latest articles in News