Power generation company Drax Group has secured development consent for a 600MW underground pumped storage hydro (PSH) plant in Scotland, UK.
The project will be located at the aptly named ‘Hollow Mountain’ Cruachan Power Station in Argyll and include an expansion of the site to include the new £500 million (US$642.45 million) underground plant. This would bring the overall capacity of the site to over 1GW.
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Recognising the potential of the project, which could be operational by 2030, the Scottish government formally approved the plans earlier this week. The expansion will also require an updated financial stabilisation mechanism from the UK government.
The new 600MW plant at Cruachan is part of a wider £7 billion strategic investment plan by Drax in clean energy technologies between 2024 and 2030.
Drax has highlighted that there is a lack of an existing government framework to support long-duration electricity storage and flexibility technologies. This means private investment cannot be secured for new pumped storage hydro projects, with no new plants having been built in the UK since Dinorwig in North Wales in 1984.
A final investment decision on the expansion of Cruachan remains dependent on the creation of such a framework.
This had been highlighted by Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf who called on the government during a tour of the Cruachan facility on 25 July to “provide an appropriate market mechanism” for projects like this.
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