SSE Renewables has awarded Fugro a ground investigation contract for its Coire Glas hydro pumped storage scheme located in the Great Glen in Scotland.

With a potential capacity of up to 1500MW, Coire Glas was in the news recently when SSE Renewables announced that it was to make a £100 million investment to see the project progress as the first large-scale pumped storage scheme to be developed in the UK for more than 40 years.

If constructed, Coire Glas would more than double Great Britain’s existing electricity storage capacity. For now, the results from Fugro’s investigation will be used to understand the current site conditions and assess potential ground risks associated with future developmental phases of the scheme.

Matthew Chappell, Fugro’s Service Line Director of Site Investigation UK said: “We take great pride in providing high-quality, integrated Geo-data solutions that encompass geotechnical and geophysical investigations, advanced testing, and detailed reporting.

“As pumped hydro storage will play a crucial role in the decarbonisation of the UK’s electricity supply, we are committed to collaborating with SSE Renewables to deliver our bespoke data acquisition solution to ensure the safe engineering of this critical asset.”

Extensive site characterisation will take place between Loch Lochy, the large lower reservoir, and the new upper reservoir site, approximately 500m above in Coire Glas. Given the remote location, high elevation and challenging weather conditions, Fugro will be using specialised all-terrain vehicles and helicopters to access the site and transport equipment.

Works will include deep rotary cored holes, specialist in situ testing, surface and wireline geophysics, as well as advanced laboratory testing on rock samples. Once testing is complete, Fugro will deliver a comprehensive factual report on ground and ground water conditions which will allow SSE Renewables to refine proposed project designs.

All geotechnical data will be managed through VirGeo®, Fugro’s cloud-based Geo-data engagement platform, providing near real-time deliverables to SSE Renewables and its consulting engineers. The platform increases collaboration, facilitates faster decision-making and accelerates timelines on critical milestones.

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