Want to read more?
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
technical support? Click here
Renewable energy giant Drax has officially submitted a planning bid to expand at Cruachan.
The power company wants to build an underground pumped storage hydro power station, hoping it would be the first constructed plant of its kind.
If it gets the go ahead it would support around 900 jobs during the six years it would take to build, from quarrying to engineering and transport to hospitality. It would also create around 150 construction jobs.
Drax says the new power station could be up and running as early as 2030, with building work beginning in 2024.
The up to 600MW plant will be inside a new hollowed out power station inside Ben Cruachan, and will be able to increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW.
Roughly two million tonnes of rock will be removed in order to create this cavern, as well as the tunnels and other parts of the power station that are needed.
According to Drax, the new station will provide critical stability services to the power system because it will act as a massive water battery. It will also use reversible turbines to pump water from Loch Awe to the upper reservoir on the mountainside to store excess power from wind farms and other low carbon technologies. Because of those technologies it can play a big part in reducing emissions and helping to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported gas, Drax says.
In a promotional Instagram video talking about what their application would do if it was implemented, Ian Kinnaird who is Drax’s Scottish Assets Director said: ‘We are very excited to be bringing this project forward and entering a new phase of the possible construction. It brings a lot of benefits to the UK system operator at National Grid and being able to control supply and demand across the UK. And for the local community here it means investment, significant investment, not just in the local community but across Scotland and the wider UK.’
Caption: Renewable energy company Drax has submitted planning application for a second power station at Cruachan