Drax completes £18m capacity market deal for hydropower

Drax tentatively secured an agreement to supply hydropower to the grid during the last capacity market cycle.

The North Yorkshire energy giant will offer 621MW of power generation from its Cruachan Pumped Storage, Galloway’s hydropower system comprising Tongland, Kendoon and Glenlee – both in Scotland, and three small gas turbines inherited from Drax Power Plant.

Set for the period between October 2025 and September 2026, it was agreed at a price of £30.59 per KWh – with an expected revenue of around £18m.

Read more: The Humber Renewables Awards return for 2022

It adds to existing deals through September 2025, with the laser company focused on releasing bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, anchoring huge decarbonization plans on the Humber.

Cruachan, 300 miles to the northwest in Argyle and Bute, is partly hidden in a hollow mountain, and not only generates electricity, but provides National Grid ESO with an outlet for excess generation – ensuring the system is balanced and facilitates more renewable energy.

The pioneering method was launched in mid-2020 with one of the four generator sets set aside. It pumps water up to a greater height, holds it back and then releases it to spin the turbines if needed. When demand is low, water is then pumped out to prepare the process again.

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