Power giant behind Scotland’s 'hollow mountain' hydro scheme supports 1,200 jobs

Drax, the power giant behind Scotland’s “hollow mountain” Cruachan hydro scheme, generates more than £200 million for the Scottish economy and supports some 1,200 jobs, new research reveals.

The independent analysis by Oxford Economics looked at the economic impact of Drax’s UK operations, which include the iconic underground Cruachan pumped hydro storage power station in Argyll. It is one of nine hydro power stations that the company owns and operates in Scotland.

Cruachan acts like a giant battery with its reversible turbines able to both pump water to store excess energy and generate power when the country needs it most.

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Will Gardiner, Drax Group chief executive, said: “Drax’s renewable power operations and sophisticated supply chains are helping level up the UK economy by supporting jobs, skills and opportunities – including in Scotland.

The Cruachan power plant, opened in 1965, is linked to an upper reservoir and dam.

“We aim to go further by progressing plans to expand our hydro pumped storage capacity at Cruachan – this will help the country to decarbonise faster and to build back better, delivering a post-Covid, green economic recovery using vital technologies needed to address the climate crisis.”

Jobs supported by the group’s activities across the UK cover a wide range of sectors including high-skilled manufacturing of industrial components, engineering and technical machinery, IT, professional business services and transporting goods.

James Bedford, economist at Oxford Economics, added: “Drax Group makes an important economic contribution to the UK. Its activities generated £2.2 billion in GDP in 2019, and sustained thousands of jobs across the nation.

“The positive impact from Drax’s operations aren’t just confined to the boundaries of its power stations or customer contact centres, it is spread across the country.”

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