Scotland approves Drax’s pioneering hydro project


United Kingdom – Scotland has granted development consent to Drax Group for the construction of a cutting-edge underground pumped storage hydro plant.

This pioneering £500 million project, located at the existing Cruachan facility in Argyll, marks a crucial milestone in Scotland’s energy transition, enabling the integration of more wind and solar power while enhancing national energy security. The approval comes as Scotland’s First Minister calls on the UK Government to provide the necessary market mechanisms to support hydro power and other long-duration energy storage technologies.

As nations worldwide strive to combat climate change and transition towards clean and sustainable energy sources, Scotland is steadfast in its commitment to achieving net-zero emissions. A pivotal element of this journey is the development of long-duration energy storage technologies, which are essential to facilitate the seamless integration of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, into the national energy grid.

Groundbreaking project

In a significant achievement, Drax Group has secured development consent from the Scottish Government to construct a revolutionary underground pumped storage hydro plant at its existing Cruachan facility in Argyll. With an estimated cost of £500 million, this 600 MW plant is part of Drax’s broader £7 billion strategic investment plan in clean energy technologies between 2024 and 2030.

Pumped storage hydro plants play a critical role in enhancing the nation’s energy security and tackling climate change. Acting like giant water batteries, these plants utilize reversible turbines to pump water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir during periods of excess power generation, such as when wind farms produce more energy than needed. The stored water is then released through the turbines to generate power when demand exceeds supply.

Wind and solar power integration

The development of the new hydro plant at Cruachan will significantly contribute to Scotland’s efforts to integrate more wind and solar power into its energy grid. By providing long-duration energy storage, these plants offer a solution to the intermittency challenges associated with renewable energy sources, ensuring a reliable and consistent power supply to meet the nation’s needs.

As Scotland takes significant strides towards its net-zero goals, the development of the Cruachan hydro plant signifies a pivotal moment in the nation’s energy transition journey. With Drax Group’s visionary investments in clean energy technologies, Scotland is poised to play a leading role in the global fight against climate change while securing a sustainable and greener future for its citizens.

Wim Raaijen
I am a creative publisher, editor in chief, writer, vlogger and moderator with a journalistic and philosophic based view. Trying to re-invent the concept of publishing, based on platforms and partners, instead of separated media and advertisements. I am interested in industrial subjects like transition, sustainability, safety, energy efficiency, innovation and responsibility.