Cruachan Power Station - Pumped Storage Hydro

For over 50 years, Cruachan Power Station has been helping power our country. Plans to expand the power station will unlock more renewable electricity to power homes and businesses across the country, and support hundreds of new jobs in rural Scotland.

Cruachan Power Station, affectionately known as the 'Hollow Mountain', resides deep inside Ben Cruachan mountain in Argyll and Bute.
It was officially opended by Her Majesty the Queen on the 15th October 1965 and was the first reversible pumped storage hydro system of this scale to be built in the world.
Acquired by Drax Group in December 2018, the site is one of only four pumped storage hydro stations in the UK and has the capacity of 440 MW - enough to power more than 500,000 homes.
Pumped storage hydro is the only tried and tested technology for delivering large-scale energy storage. It requires two reservoirs based at different altitudes but located close to each other.
At Cruachan, these are Loch Awe and Cruachan Reservoir and they are located the minimum required distance from one another with a maximum elevation drop making it an ideal location.
The ample rainfall that comes from being sited in one of the wettest areas in Europe also makes Cruachan a prime location for pumped storage hydro.

About Drax

Drax is enabling a zero carbon, lower cost energy future

Drax Group is a UK-based renewable energy company engaged in renewable power generation, the production of sustainable biomass and the sale of renewable energy to businesses. Drax Group operates a generation portfolio of hydro-electric and pumped storage hydro assets across four sites in England and Scotland and is the UK's largest source of renewable electricity.

What next for Cruachan?

The UK has led the world in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable power, and Scotland has been at the forefront of this renewables revolution. Drax wants to go even further and unlock Scotland’s full renewable potential by expanding Cruachan pumped hydro storage plant.

Pumped storage hydro stations, like Cruachan, have never been more important to the country’s decarbonisation. They provide flexible and responsive power generation and storage capacity which complements renewables like wind and are essential for delivering the Scottish Government’s 2045 net zero target. Increasing Cruachan's generation would help ensure that more flexible sources of energy are available and can be called upon to power our needs when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

For this reason, an expansion at Cruachan Power Station is planned. Subject to planning consent, a second pumped storage hydro plant will be developed to the east of the existing Cruachan Station.