Construction of a new pumped storage hydropower scheme in the UK could start in 2018  following the recent granting of planning permission.

Developer Snowdonia Pumped Hydro (SPH) has been given the go-ahead to turn two abandoned slate quarries in North Wales into water reservoirs for the hydropower scheme.

The 100 MW scheme will be built at a cost of £160 million and will be the fourth pumped hydropower storage scheme in the UK. SPH is seeking private equity funds to build the plant, located at Glyn Rhonwy near Llanberis.

The scheme will enable excess energy from nearby wind energy schemes to be stored, SPH said. “We see the grant of permission for our Glyn Rhonwy scheme as highly significant, signalling a real change that will enable the UK to meet carbon reduction targets, while keeping electricity supply secure and prices for consumers under control,” said SPH managing director Dave Holmes.

SPH, which is supported by private angel investors, has not sought to develop Lithium-ion batteries at grid-scale, it said. “Glyn Rhonwy can be expected to deliver around 32 million MWh over its lifetime. An equivalent 700 MWh Lithium-ion installation would deliver just 2.1 million MWh before needing its batteries replacing,” Holmes said. “This means electricity delivered by pumped hydro is twenty times cheaper per MWh than Lithium-ion batteries over its lifetime, and carries less environmental baggage.”