Net zero goal
Drax plans power station inside hollow mountain
Power plan: Cruachan Dam
Renewable energy company Drax Group intends to build a new pumped hydro storage power station deep inside a Scottish mountain.
It will more than double the electricity generating capacity at its Cruachan facility and will provide critical storage capacity needed to support a net zero power system.
The 600MW power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW.
It will be built within a new, hollowed-out cavern which would be large enough to fit Big Ben on its side, to the east of Drax’s existing 440MW pumped storage hydro station.
More than a million tonnes of rock would be excavated to create the cavern and other parts of the power station. The existing upper reservoir, which can hold 2.4 billion gallons of water, has the capacity to serve both power stations.
In order to deploy this critical technology, Drax must secure consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 from Scottish Ministers – a process which takes around one year to complete from the application’s submission.