Drax wins permission to expand lucrative Cruachan pumped storage plant

Drax Power announced a tripling of earnings from its pumped storage plant at Cruachan and its hydro operations at Lanark and Galloway in the first half of 2023 – EBITDA was £154 million in H1 2023, compared with £53 million in H1 2022.
Cruachan was the “primary driver” of the increase, as it stacked revenues from the balancing mechanism, ancillary services and peak-off peak power generation. Drax Power chief executive Will Gardner said in a results presentation that Drax expected those ‘system support’ revenues to increase in the long term. The results come just a few days after planning permission was granted for a £500 million expansion of the Cruachan plant in Argyll, which will see a new 600 MW plant built adjacent to the existing 500MW unit. Drax Power said “With the right support from the UK government”, the new plant could be operational by 2030. He said, “The location, flexibility and range of services Cruachan can provide makes it strategically important to the UK power system”.
The company said reduced forward power prices would mean lower earnings in H2 2023.

2 comments for “Drax wins permission to expand lucrative Cruachan pumped storage plant

  1. James
    July 29, 2023 at 5:51 AM

    Drax has hedged its portfolio – fire and water. Wildfire in the vicinity of its suppliers’ mills and forest tracts – already a formally declared supply chain cost – exposes “sustainable” biomass as greenwash. Managed, working forests (a euphemism for monoculture plantations) are less resilient to fire, pests etc than natural forest.

  2. Jack Spruill
    July 28, 2023 at 11:55 PM

    Before Drax is allowed to extend its hand to receive one more UK government subsidy, there should be an independent engineering study of the net, net energy efficiency of this pumped-storage hydroelectricity scheme.

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