Firm appointed for exploratory works on major Highlands project

SSE Renewables

EXPLORATORY works are underway at the site of what could be the UK’s first large-scale pumped storage scheme to be developed in 30 years.

Mining and tunnelling firm, Strabag UK, has been selected by SSE Renewables to undertake the Coire Glas project at Loch Lochy in the Great Glen in the Highlands.

SSE Renewables said Strabag UK has ‘extensive’ experience in ‘complex’ infrastructure and ground engineering. The firm was named as the preferred tenderer to carry out the work after a ‘rigorous’ selection process which concluded in April.

The work will see the creation of a tunnel approximately four metres wide and up to one kilometre long, which will cut into the hillside towards the proposed location of the underground powerhouse complex.

Samples of the materials within the hill will be analysed, and survey and assessment work will be carried out to give a detailed understanding of the geological conditions. The information will then be used in detailed design of underground structures.

The findings of the exploratory works will be used to inform the final design of the project and will be an important consideration in SSE Renewables’ final decision on whether to proceed with the Coire Glas project.

Ian Innes, project director for Coire Glas, said, “Coire Glas is one of the most significant engineering projects to take place in the UK for decades. The commencement of these exploratory works is a great milestone for everyone on the Coire Glas Project Team and at SSE Renewables.

“With a reputation for innovation and delivering a wide variety of specialist skills and services on major construction projects, I am confident that Strabag UK’s experience will prove an asset as we undertake this critical phase in the development of the Coire Glas project.”