Lochaber Hydro Plant And Marble Power Implement New Balancing Mechanism

Lochaber hydro-electric plant has developed a new model to assist with the enhancement of sustainable energy use in the UK, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to a sustainable future.

Working closely with business energy supplier Marble Power, the Lochaber team successfully entered the hydro plant in the UK’s balancing mechanism, resulting in a first-year cost saving of around £2m.

Before this innovation, the Lochaber site had been powered by hydropower through the winter, then by a combination of grid and hydropower through the summer months. Since adopting the new operating model, the site is able to run through the summer with less reliance on grid power, making it more resilient to changes in grid pricing and helping reduce the CO2 impact of grid energy in UK by allowing these vital green sources to remain online in times of lower demand.

The new operating model works by anticipating periods when the Scottish grid over-produces wind power and bids to absorb power, reducing National Grid’s need to pay wind owners to curtail generation.

In this way, the site is paid to absorb power and retains water in Loch Treig. That water can then be released later, allowing the site to either avoid importing more expensive power or earning extra income by exporting to the grid.

The site’s unique combination of water storage, generation and steady load have been turned into what is, in terms of ‘discharge duration’, the largest battery operating on the UK system.

Developing innovative initiatives such as Lochaber’s balancing mechanism and investing in new clean technologies are key to enhancement of the business’s sustainability model.