Mongolian ambassador visits Cruachan station

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The Mongolian Ambassador to the UK has visited Drax Group’s iconic Cruachan pumped storage hydro power station in Scotland, to learn more about the important role it plays in supporting the British power system.

His Excellency Mr Tulga Narkhuu and the Mongolian delegation were interested to learn more about Cruachan as Mongolia begins its transition to a low carbon energy system.

The Mongolian authorities recognise the value of pumped hydro, and wanted to see it in action at Cruachan. At present the country relies heavily on coal-fired power stations for its electricity but is actively decarbonising and transitioning towards using more renewables like wind and solar.

Mongolia has a wealth of natural resources including mountainous terrain – ideal for the development of both run-of-river hydro power stations and pumped storage facilities.

Cruachan is one of only four pumped hydro storage stations in the UK and has a capacity of 440 MW – enough to power more than 90,000 homes at times of peak demand.

Built on the shores of Loch Awe in Argyll and Bute, it was the first reversible pumped storage hydro system on this scale to be built in the world.

The turbine hall is located 1km within the hollowed-out mountain of Ben Cruachan and houses four generators, supplying a range of vital balancing and ancillary services to the grid, helping to maintain secure power supplies.

Ian Kinnaird, Drax’s Head of UK Hydro said: “As the first plant of its type in the UK, Cruachan has been providing stability and storage to the power network since 1965. That Mongolia is going through a similar energy transition to the one the UK has been on, gave us a prime opportunity, as a member of the government’s Power Past Coal Alliance to share the learnings and expertise we’ve built up over the decades with the Ambassador and his colleagues.

‘Services such as those which Cruachan provides are of growing importance as we transition to a system with more renewables.’

The visit was supported by the UK government’s Department for International Trade.