Drax to upgrade existing Cruachan pumped storage plant after Capacity Market contract win

Drax is to invest £80 million in a refurbishment of its Cruachan pumped storage hydro power station in Scotland, increasing its capacity. Drax said the investment is underpinned by a 15-year Capacity Market agreement worth around £221 million awarded in February.
The generating capacity of two of the plant’s four units will be increased, adding 40MW to raise the facility’s total generating capacity to 480MW.
The units were commissioned in 1965 and contain parts, including their turbines, which are more than 50 years old. Drax has appointed hydropower technology supplier Andritz Hydro to carry out the refurbishment. The upgrade project received development consent from the Scottish Government in December 2023 and site work will start in 2025.
Cruachan is on the shores of Loch Awe in Argyll and is one of four pumped storage hydro facilities in the UK.
The upgrade is separate to Drax’s plans to build a new 600MW power station adjacent to the existing Cruachan facility. Drax said no investment decision on that expansion has yet been taken and development remains subject to an appropriate regulatory framework.

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