Drax given green light for pumped storage hydro plant

Renewable energy leader Drax Group has secured development consent from the Scottish Government for its ground-breaking plans to build a new c.GBP 500M underground pumped storage hydro plant at its existing Cruachan facility in Argyll. The decision, made through the Section 36 process, is a significant moment in Scotland’s journey to net zero, with new long-duration storage plants critical to enabling more wind and solar power to come online in the next decade.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf visited Drax’s iconic power station on the shores of Loch Awe, where he underlined his call for the UK Government ‘to provide an appropriate market mechanism for hydro power and other long duration energy storage technologies.’ Mr Yousaf recently wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to take action so developers can have the certainty required to build a new generation of pumped storage hydro plants.

The new 600 MW plant at Cruachan is part of a wider GBP 7bn strategic investment plan by Drax in clean energy technologies between 2024 and 2030, such as long duration storage and Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), which tackle climate change and enhance national energy security. Constructed adjacent to the existing underground facility, the plant would effectively more than double the site’s total generation capacity to over 1 GW.

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