08 March 2017 – The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark MP has today granted a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the Glyn Rhonwy Pumped Storage Hydropower project, the UK’s first onshore hydro scheme to go through the Planning Act 2008. Global infrastructure services firm AECOM has supported the applicant Snowdonia Pumped Hydro for the past six years, delivering a range of multidisciplinary services to support the previous planning application and the DCO, including engineering design and environmental consultancy.
Using two disused quarries near Llanberis, North Wales, the 99MW project will generate electricity, as well as store energy that can be used to help balance the national grid at times of peak energy use. Water will be transferred via a large diameter tunnel between the two reservoirs using reversible pump turbines, both to generate electricity when required at peak times and to use electricity to fill the upper reservoir when power demand is low. An underground power plant will be located in a deep shaft next to the lower reservoir.
AECOM has been involved with the scheme for more than six years, delivering a range of services for client Quarry Battery Company and its subsidiary Snowdonia Pumped Hydro, including the project’s engineering feasibility, preliminary engineering designs, technical studies for the grid connection application and highways design. AECOM has also delivered the full range of environmental technical disciplines to support the scheme’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the DCO including ecology, transport, noise, landscape, water quality, air quality and cultural and heritage assessments. The company’s role also included expert witness support at the DCO hearings across multiple environmental disciplines.
The proposed scheme is located just outside Snowdonia National Park within designated sites for ecology, landscape and cultural heritage and the complex EIA needed to consider an array of mitigation measures that have been embedded into the project. Due to its previous slate mining history, the site also has over 400 archaeological features, as well as multiple protected species.
Dave Holmes, Managing Director, Quarry Battery, said: “We are really pleased that this excellent scheme has been given DCO consent today by the government. Electricity storage is the natural partner to renewable generation and the missing piece of the UK low carbon strategy. AECOM has been a long-term supporter and strategic partner for the scheme, helping us to achieve today’s DCO. We look forward to continuing this relationship as the project progresses.”
Catherine Anderson, EIA associate director, AECOM, said: “Today’s DCO marks a significant milestone for this important project that will help boost the UK’s ability to respond to changing patterns of electricity generation and demand. AECOM has remained committed to the project since its early stages, with our environmental and engineering teams working in collaboration to embed mitigation measures into the design from the outset.”
The project was previously approved as a 49MW scheme by Gwynedd Council, but the Energy Market Reform changed the financial viability of the project and it was updated for a DCO application. The physical nature of the updated scheme has not increased from the original design, but it now includes more powerful turbines.
The planning application was led by GVA, with legal support provided by Burges Salmon. Now that the DCO has been granted, construction is expected to start within the next 12 months once the DCO requirements have been discharged.
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