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ScottishPower commits to hydro-electric – £20m two-year investment planned


ScottishPower has announced a £20m two-year investment programme to upgrade equipment at its three hydro-electric plants in Scotland in order to safeguard their operation for at least the next 25 years.

The three schemes at Cruachan, Galloway and Lanark, have a combined output of 562MW. The largest of the three, Cruachan in Argyll, has enjoyed its best performance in 10 years, with production rates at an all time high due to recent investment.

The £20 million will be used to carry out a range of civil works at each of the sites and to maintain and upgrade operational equipment. Some of the plants were originally designed in the 1920’s and this investment will ensure continued high performance in the coming years.

ScottishPower’s commitment will also mean that both Lanark and Galloway will still be in operation when they celebrate their centenary years in 2027 and 2036, respectively.

Frank Mitchell, Generation Director at ScottishPower, said: “In a climate of global volatility in the wholesale energy markets, hydro-electric plants are proving to be an extremely efficient method of generating electricity as input costs are relatively low. With no signs that the global markets will level off any time soon, hydro will continue to be an important aspect of our generation business and this is reflected in our investment.

“Hydro is also very versatile and can be brought on-line quickly when required, so is an essential element in guaranteeing secure supplies of power across the entire network.

“Our £20m investment will guarantee the longevity of all our hydro stations and keep performance levels high. When you consider that the Galloway and Lanark schemes were both first considered in the 1920’s, and Cruachan in the 1950’s, to say that they still play an essential role in the modern day electricity network is testament to their original quality design and on-going levels of committed stewardship.”

Notes to editors:

Cruachan Power Station Facts:

  • The station, which opened in 1965, has the capacity to power over 225,000 homes and can generate 440MW of power – it can produce electricity in just two minutes from cold.
  • 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 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.

Galloway Hydro Scheme Facts:

  • Proposals for Galloway Hydro Scheme were approved by Parliament in 1929, construction began in 1931 and the scheme was fully operational in 1936.
  • It consists of six power stations at Glenlee, Drumjohn, Kendoon, Carsfad, Earlstoun and Tongland.
  • The scheme can generate 106MW of power.

Lanark Hydro Scheme Facts:

  • Lanark Hydro Scheme was built in 1926 and fully commissioned in1927.
  • It consists of two power stations at Bonnington & Stonebyres.
  • The scheme has a total output of 16MW
  • The Lanark scheme usually has a sufficient water supply to run the turbines continuously. It therefore makes a useful, if modest, contribution to the base load of the grid.

Media Information: Paul Ferguson, 0141 566 4515 / 07702 665 924