Drax start ground exploration for 600-MW pumped-storage project in Scotland
Drax's team starts borehole drilling for the Cruachan power station expansion. Image source: Drax (handout)
UK power producer Drax Group Plc (LON:DRX) said on Wednesday that it has started performing some exploratory works for a project to expand the existing Cruachan pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in Scotland by 600 MW.
As part of the preliminary ground investigation, the company is drilling a 70-metre (229.7 ft) deep borehole to recover rock core which will be analysed in a lab to determine structural and geological stability for elements of the new plant.
The Cruachan power station is a 440-MW facility located inside the Ben Cruachan mountain in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. For its underground expansion, Drax plans to excavate more than 2 million tonnes of rock to create a new cavern inside the mountain.
If realised, the project would become the UK’s first pumped-storage hydro power plant since 1984. Drax is now waiting to obtain development consent from the Scottish government, which is expected to arrive in the second quarter of 2023. Additionally, the project will also need the UK government to adopt a new policy and market support framework to enable private investment in large-scale long-duration storage projects.
Drax’s investment decision will hinge on consent and the appropriate regulatory framework, the company said. With those in hand, Drax would invest around GBP 500 million (USD 608.1m/EUR 579.2m) in the Cruachan expansion and bring the plant online in 2030.
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