A SCOTTISH company has called for the UK Government to put pumped storage hydro (PSH) at the heart of its strategy to meet the challenge of providing a secure, low-carbon electricity supply in the coming decades.

Intelligent Land Investments (ILI) has submitted evidence to a House of Commons committee which is looking at the future investment outlook for the country’s energy infrastructure.

Members of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee are investigating the fitness of purpose of PSH after the collapse of plans for two new nuclear power stations.

The committee’s inquiry is looking into the challenges of raising finance for clean technologies – such as renewables and storage – and at governments’ approach to attracting investment in energy.

Mark Wilson, ILI Group CEO, said: “We have submitted our written evidence to the inquiry, stating our belief that the gap left by nuclear can be filled by greater deployment of renewables in combination with new pumped storage hydro plants.

“There are currently over 4GW of PSH in the pipeline.

“Several organisations have indicated that they feel doubling the Government’s target of 30% generation from offshore wind (to 45%) is required to meet our obligations.”

Wilson added: “Underpinning this with pump storage would provide the necessary flexibility, it would be cheaper overall with none of the issues that come with nuclear.

“However, this will only be possible if governments and policy makers create the necessary market and commercial environment to support major infrastructure investments such as PSH.”

“We believe this can be done while meeting the Government’s own test criteria for energy investments that was laid out in the context of Hinkley Point C.”

PSH allows the National Grid to store energy that cannot be absorbed naturally by consumers during times of peak wind or solar generation.

It does so by using this energy to pump water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir, where the water can be held until times of higher demand where it is released back to the lower reservoir.

This happens through turbines generating electricity like a conventional hydro plant and this process can be repeated as and when required.

ILI Group have more than 2GW of pump storage hydro in the pipeline with their first 450MW development, Red John in Inverness, currently at the planning stage, with two more projects to be submitted later this year.

Former UK energy minister, Brian Wilson, added: “One way or another, there has to be back-up to the intermittency of renewable generation, and this creates a huge opportunity for UK industry.

“In Scotland, pumped storage hydro – which provides 95% of storage around the world – is the obvious answer instead of relying on imports via interconnectors.

“Hydro power has served Scotland exceptionally well in the past and can do so for many years to come.”