Drax acquires Cruachan Power Station as part of 702m power deal
- January 11, 2019
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The pumped storage power station is located in the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan, and was built in the 1960s. It is part of a portfolio of hydro, pumped storage and gas power generation assets which have been sold by Spanish company Iberdrola to Drax Group owners of the UKs largest power station at Selby in North Yorkshire.
The deal adds a total of 2.6GW of generation capacity to Draxs portfolio, reinforcing its position at the heart of Great Britains energy system.
Drax will now generate enough power for more than 8.3 million homes with operations in Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire, Lancashire, London, the South East of England, the East of England and the East Midlands,.
Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO, said:
As a British energy company were really proud to be the new owners of these critical power stations across Scotland. Were looking forward to working with our new colleagues at each of the sites and playing an increasingly important role in the UKs power system.
Weve been to meet the team at Cruachan Power Station and have been impressed with the skill and expertise there the way this truly unique power station has been built and operates inside the mountain really is an incredible feat of engineering.
By being able to run the plant in a range of different modes, we can generate very flexible power which not only keeps the lights on for thousands of households, but also provides crucial system support services to the grid, maintaining secure supplies and enabling more renewables like wind power onto the system.
Cruachan is one of only four pumped storage power stations in the UK and works like an enormous rechargeable battery, temporarily storing energy by managing water resources between a reservoir in the Argyll hills and Loch Awe, 396m below.
Using its reversible turbines, the station pumps water from Loch Awe to fill the upper reservoir at times when demand for electricity is low. When demand increases, the stored water can be released through the plants turbines to generate power quickly and reliably.
The plant usually runs for short periods to meet peaks in demand, but it can operate continuously at full output for around 15 hours if necessary.
The Scottish assets included in the deal are: Cruachan pumped storage hydro (440MW) in Argyll, run-of-river hydro locations at Galloway and Lanark (126MW) and a biomass-from-waste facility at Daldowie, near Glasgow.
The combination of hydro plants in Scotland with Draxs biomass units in Yorkshire reinforces the companys position as Great Britains biggest generator of renewable electricity.
With the additional 2GW of gas power stations in England acquired through the deal, Drax will be better placed to provide the flexibility and stability to help underpin more solar and wind power which will be needed in the decades to come if the UK is to meet its climate targets.