New 300-MW Scottish hydro power scheme planned for the Western Isles

General view of Oppenheim's Eishken Estate, Lewis
General view of Oppenheim’s Eishken Estate, Lewis

Plans for a 300 MW hydro electricity power project on the Isle of Lewis have been announced by the local Eishken Estate, owned by city financier Nick Oppenheim.

The new £200m electricity storage facility on the island will significantly increase (from 40% to 80%) the use of the Western Isles cable being installed by the National Grid to export and import electricity generated from renewable energy sources from the islands.

Generating enough electricity to power more than 200,000 homes, the Eishken scheme will utilise the sea as the lower reservoir from which water will be pumped uphill to a second reservoir at a higher reservoir. Eishken expects that this method will create a much lower environmental impact than would be caused by creating a second reservoir.

Up to 150 new jobs are expected to be created in the five year construction programme.

Oppenheim said: “There are very few pumped storage hydro schemes throughout the UK and what we are proposing is particularly innovative given the use of the sea as the lower reservoir. 

“This scheme will not only materially enhance the benefits to be derived from the Western Isles link but will make a material difference in the supply of energy to the mainland. It will also be a key element in the Scotland’s renewable energy armoury.”

The project forms part of the already approved 162-MW Muaitheabhal Wind Farm on Lewis.

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