John Campbell, Director of Energy Wholesale at ScottishPower, was joined today (Friday 26th June) by Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism to officially open a major overhaul to the popular visitor centre at Cruachan Power Station, which attracts more than 60,000 people every year.
The recent refurbishment took around four months to complete and the visitor centre now boasts a range of new features. As well as telling the story of Cruachan Power Station, the centre now also includes interactive educational areas where visitors can learn more about all forms of electricity generation, including hydro, renewables, thermal and nuclear power.
There is also an area dedicated to the importance of energy efficiency. One of the new features allows visitors to see how much energy individual household appliances use and how much this energy costs. There are also tips and hints for users to reduce energy wastage and improve their carbon footprint.
The company hopes that this new education area will also help to inspire an interest in the power industry amongst the younger generations and potentially create engineers of the future.
ScottishPower Chief Executive Nick Horler explained: “The combination of meeting the UK’s possible energy gap and meeting emissions targets means the UK faces the biggest revolution in the UK power energy since its development in the 1930’s. The generation now emerging from schools and universities across the country will be key to us meeting these challenges.
“ScottishPower is determined that even in this time of economic uncertainty, we ramp up our long established schools initiatives to inspire a new generation of skills and talent. The energy sector needs to continually look for new ways to attract the engineers of tomorrow and that’s why education centres such as this can play an important role.”
Following a tour of the station, Jim Mather MSP officially opened the upgraded visitor centre, which has been completed in time for the busy summer season. He said: “Our rich hydro legacy continues to serve Scotland well in contributing clean, green energy and creating and sustaining jobs. Cruachan is one of Scotland’s great achievements, and it is fitting in the year of Homecoming that people from all over the world are seeing how Scotland’s natural resources and our great engineering tradition is providing benefits in the 21st century. I am sure the new facilities and focus on green energy production will attract even more visitors from home and abroad and showcase the vital role of renewables to Scotland – and the future of our planet.”
ScottishPower’s Director of Energy Wholesale, John Campbell, said: “Cruachan remains an extremely important power station in Scotland and we carried out major engineering upgrades last year to ensure it continues to operate efficiently. Because of its unique setting and picturesque surroundings, it has always been a very popular tourist attraction and we wanted to ensure that the 60,000 visitors who come here every year have first class facilities to enjoy. VisitScotland already rates the station as a five star attraction and the new features really enhance the experience for visitors.”
Hidden deep within the mountain of Ben Cruachan on the shores of Loch Awe, Cruachan Power Station was originally opened in 1965 and has the capacity to power over 225,000 homes. The station consists of a machine hall hidden deep within the mountain of Ben Cruachan, and a reservoir at the top of the mountain with a 316m long dam. The incredibly versatile power station can go from standstill to full power output in under two minutes, making it a key asset in Scotland’s power generation fleet.
Cruachan Power Station Facts:
Cruachan is a 440MW reversible pumped-storage Power Station
The creation of the "Hollow Mountain" involved the excavation of 220,000 cubic metres of rock and soil
The catchment area of the reservoir covers 23sq km
With 1420 steps, a staircase in the cable shaft is the tallest in Britain
Media Information: Paul Ferguson, 0141 566 4515 / 07702 665 924