Next round of public consultation on Cruachan expansion

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Renewable power company Drax has announced dates for its next round of public consultation on plans to more than double the generating capacity of its ‘Hollow Mountain’ power station.

Under the plans, a second underground power station will be built adjacent to the existing one at Cruachan.

Around 900 jobs will be created and indirectly supported during the new power station’s construction, providing a huge boost to communities around Loch Awe and across Argyll says Drax.

People will have the opportunity to learn more about the proposals during two consultation exhibitions when members of the project team will answer questions and discuss the planning process, design stages, works programme, construction and operation of the Cruachan expansion.

The sessions will be at Dalmally Community Centre on Tuesday November 30 from  1.30pm to 7.30pm and at Taynuilt Village Hall on Wednesday December 1, also from 1.30pm to 7.30pm.

Steve Marshall, Drax’s development manager, said: ‘We are keen to hear from as many people as possible over the two days, so we encourage anyone living locally who can attend the exhibitions to come along.

‘Cruachan has created and supported jobs in Argyll for more than 50 years and through our exciting expansion plans we will ensure the station remains at the heart of the community, as well as Scotland’s energy system, for many decades to come.

“The recent COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow underlined the need to invest in renewables to decarbonise our economy.

‘In 2020, enough wind power to supply a million homes went to waste in the UK because there wasn’t enough capacity to ensure this excess renewable power was stored and made available when it was needed.

‘By expanding Cruachan we will help to stop that from happening by ensuring more renewable power is available to Scotland’s homes and businesses, when they need it, reducing costs whilst helping the planet.’

There will be another exhibition early next year before Drax makes a Section 36 application to the Scottish Government for consideration.

The submission is expected to be made in spring, with a decision from the government expected to be received in 2023.

The project needs financial stability support  from the UK government to secure private investment in long-duration storage sites like at Cruachan. If that happens and the planning application is approved, work to build the second station at Cruachan could start in 2024 with the facility up and running in 2030.

Caption: Renewable power company Drax is launching the next stage in its public consultation on its exciting plans to more than double the generating capacity of its iconic ‘Hollow Mountain’ Cruachan Power Station.