Green Technology

Drax approved for new £500m Cruachan 2 pumped storage hydro project

The dam at Cruachan reservoir (image credit: Raining girl at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0 license).

Energy firm Drax Group has secured development consent from the Scottish Government for plans to build a new c.£500m underground pumped storage hydro plant at its existing Cruachan facility in Argyll.

The decision was made through the Section 36 process, and announced on Tuesday, 25 July.

On the same day, Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf visited the 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. 

Morag Watson, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables, said: Today’s announcement from Drax and The Scottish Government is not only exciting news for Cruachan power station and the wider renewable energy industry, it’s a really positive step forward for the transition to net-zero in Scotland.

“Long-duration electricity storage, such as pumped storage hydro, will be essential for ensuring energy security and keeping energy bills low for consumers as we decarbonise our energy system. And the extension to the plant at Cruachan is one vital step towards maximising the benefits available from this technology.

“More pumped storage hydro means we can store cheap renewable electricity for when it is needed most, but much more needs to be done to support investment in the technology.

“We know that six projects currently under development in Scotland will more than double the UK’s pumped storage hydro capacity to 7.7GW, create almost 15,000 jobs and generate up to £5.8 billion for the UK economy by 2035.