Proposed power storage plant may create 300 development jobs


The extent of the development is shown in this visualization, which faces south from the A9, with the existing quarry buildings on the right.

A multimillion-pound energy store planned in Caithness could create 300 jobs during its two-year construction, according to the company behind the project.

Highview Power, a London-based company that specializes in long-term energy storage, wants to build the Spittal plant in an unused quarry owned by the local company A & D Sutherland.

The five-hectare site north of the Spittal Mains quarry would deliver 49.9 megawatts of electricity for up to six hours and supply 120,000 households with electricity. 10 permanent employees would be required for operation and maintenance work.

The technology proposed for the Albannach Power Initiative uses the ambient air from the atmosphere, removes the carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – and particles and cools it down in liquid form. It is then stored on site in insulated low-pressure containers. In times of need, the liquid air is evaporated, heated and expanded by a turbine to generate electricity.

The system would be connected to the power grid via an underground cable via the nearby Spittal underground station.

The plan was welcomed yesterday by Ron Gunn, the new chairman of the Association of Caithness Community Councils.

He said: “We’ll have to wait and see what happens next, but it sounds very interesting and it would be great if 300 jobs were created during construction. If it goes on I would hope the jobs will benefit as many locals as possible. ” The 10 permanent jobs would also be good and would benefit the district. “

Mr. Gunn added, “It would be useful if this plan could help solve the problem of energy storage.”

The company says the development would consist of cylindrical storage tanks up to 45 meters high, plus a charger (air condenser), liquid storage tanks, a generator, a control room, and ancillary equipment. The higher structures would be in existing deeper parts of the quarry.

A&D Sutherland would assist with site preparation and all relevant surveys would be carried out, adds Highview Power.

The company intends to minimize the visual impact by moving the facility away from the street. Forestry and low-maintenance habitat are also taken into account.

There would be additional traffic during construction, but the company claims the project will have minimal environmental impact.

The program could remove between 150,000 and 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to Highview Power, and help Scotland meet its decarbonization goals. The technology uses “benign materials with no emissions,” it says.

A planning application will be submitted to the Highland Council following a public consultation due in June.

The company received a UK Government grant of £ 10 million in 2020 to develop a similar facility in Carrington, near Manchester.

As one of the largest battery storage systems in Europe, it will provide clean, reliable, and inexpensive energy storage and grid services for long periods of time, the company said.

Work is currently underway at the Manchester site, which is expected to start commercial operations in 2022.

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