May 17 (Renewables Now) - UK power producer Drax Group Plc (LON:DRX) said it will today submit an application seeking planning consent for an underground pumped storage hydropower station of up to 600 MW to expand its Cruachan Power Station in Scotland.
The new facility will be located inside the Ben Cruachan mountain in Argyll and will more than double the existing plant’s capacity to 1.04 GW.
Construction, which would require the removal of around 2 million tonnes of rock from inside the mountain, could start in 2024 and be completed in 2030.
Drax expects the process of securing Section 36 consent from the Scottish government to take around one year and said the project will also need the right support mechanism from the UK government. No new pumped storage hydro projects have been built in the UK since 1984, it pointed out. This is despite long-duration storage being is seen as key to reaching net zero.
The proposed expansion will store surplus electricity from wind farms and other low carbon technologies
“Drax’s plan to expand Cruachan will strengthen the UK’s energy security by enabling more homegrown renewable electricity to come online to power homes and businesses across the country, helping to end our reliance on imports and cut costs,” said Drax’s Scottish Assets Director Ian Kinnaird.
Drax announced the start of the planning process for the project last year.