Drax plans to expand Cruachan Power Station in Scotland

WCN Editorial Team 18 May 2022 EUROPE ENERGY & UTILITIES

Renewable energy company Drax has submitted application seeking planning consent to build $613m underground pumped storage hydro power station at its Cruachan Power Station in Scotland to support UK energy security, cut down energy costs and carbon emissions.

The new power station could become operational as soon as by the end of this decade, with construction work expected to commence in 2024.

This will be a major infrastructure project that will support around 900 jobs during six years of construction across the supply chain in a range of industries.

During the development, about 150 local construction jobs will be created on-site.

The up to 600MW power station will be situated inside Ben Cruachan, which is Argyll’s highest mountain.

It will increase Cruachan Power Station’s total capacity to 1.04GW.

The new power plant will be located within a new, hollowed-out cavern.

For this project, about two million tonnes of rock will be excavated to build the cavern, tunnels, and other parts of the power station.

Once operational, the new power plant will offer critical stability services to the power system by serving as a giant water battery.

It will deploy reversible turbines to pump water from Loch Awe to the upper reservoir on the mountainside to store additional power from wind farms and other low carbon technologies when supply is more than demand and then make use of this stored water to produce renewable power when required.

Drax Scottish Assets director Ian Kinnaird said: “Drax’s plan to expand Cruachan will strengthen the UK’s energy security by enabling more homegrown renewable electricity to come online to power homes and businesses across the country, helping to end our reliance on imports and cut costs. This major infrastructure project will support hundreds of jobs and provide a real boost to the Scottish economy. Only by investing in long-duration storage technologies can the UK reach its full renewable potential, and Drax is ready to move mountains to do just that.”
Image: The new underground pumped storage hydro power station will increase Cruachan Power Station’s total capacity to 1.04GW. Credit: Drax.

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