Scottish Power mulls expansion to Cruachan pumped-storage hydropower plant

European utility Scottish Power is considering a major expansion of its 440-MW Ben Cruachan pumped-storage hydroelectric plant.

The company’s plans detail a two-year feasibility study that could increase Cruachan‘s output capacity to about 1,040 MW.

The Cruachan station is located in Argyll and Bute, with water pumped from Loch Awe into an upper reservoir 360 meters above.

The project was completed in 1965, at which time it was the world’s first high-head reversible pumped-storage plant. The plant was developed and owned by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board until the 1990s, when ownership transferred to Scottish Power during the privitization of Britain’s energy sector.

Scottish Power said expansions to Cruachan could take between 8-10 years and create about 1,000 jobs during its peak.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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