Renewable energy developer Drax has appointed Voith Hydro to conduct a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for the 600MW Cruachan 2 pumped storage hydro scheme in Scotland.

Adjacent to Drax’s existing Cruachan facility, the Cruachan 2 pumped storage hydro scheme is an important step in the UK’s transition to renewable energy. Exploratory works are already in progress to gather essential geological data.

Voith Hydro will be responsible for creating a detailed report and models, crucial for defining the project’s scope, design, cost and timeline.

Voith Hydro project manager Stefan Linhart stated: “We at Voith Hydro are highly committed to the Cruachan 2 project and feel honoured to have been nominated by Drax for the FEED. As a full-line supplier of hydropower technology, we are looking forward to bringing our extensive experience in the field of pumped storage.

“The constructive and professional collaboration with Drax and other project partners is key to achieving our common goal: a power plant that meets the latest standards in performance and safety.”

Despite receiving development consent from the Scottish government, the Cruachan 2 initiative hinges on updated policies and market support from the UK government.

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Drax is enhancing the existing Cruachan plant with an £80m upgrade, which will boost its capacity by 40MW, bringing the total to 480MW.

Drax development manager Steve Marshall stated: “A new generation of pumped storage hydro plants will strengthen the UK’s energy security by enabling more homegrown renewable electricity to come online to power homes and businesses across the country. Drax’s plan to build a new plant at Cruachan will support hundreds of jobs and provide a real boost to the Scottish economy

“With the project granted development consent from the Scottish government, we hope the next UK government will continue policy development in this area at pace to enable a new generation of pumped storage plants to come online as possible.”