Drax invests £6m in Galloway Hydro Scheme revamp



Energy company Drax is to invest almost £6 million in protecting and refurbishing a key piece of the historic Galloway Hydro Scheme’s infrastructure.

The barrage from above, with the 18th century Glenlochar Bridge downstream

The Glenlochar Barrage, a 103-meter-long bridge that spans across the river Dee, controls the flow of water from Loch Ken to Tongland power station through its six sluice gates. Built in 1934, the barrage is a critical component of the scheme’s operations, which can produce enough renewable electricity to power 218,000 homes.

Ian Kinnaird, Drax’s head of hydro, said: “The Galloway Hydro Scheme has been generating flexible, renewable electricity for almost a century, and this major refurbishment will ensure it continues to do so for many years to come.

Scotland has a long and proud history of hydroelectricity, and with this project Drax is ensuring these power stations play an important part in securing a net zero carbon future for our country.”

The barrage’s six gates will be replaced as part of the project over the next three years

Drax acquired the Galloway hydro scheme alongside the Lanark hydro scheme and the Cruachan pumped-hydro storage facility in Argyll in January 2019, helping to make the company a leading provider of flexible, low carbon and renewable power generation.

Over the next three years, Drax will fully refurbish the barrage, alongside its project partners KGAL Consulting Engineers and AJT Engineering, to ensure the hydro scheme can continue to generate renewable electricity for many decades to come.

Workers walk on the barrage’s steel beams without harnesses during its construction in 1934

Andy Neill, AJT Engineering’s divisional manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Drax on this major project with our extensive experience in this type refurbishment works, extending the life span of critical infrastructure for future generations.”

Nicholas Crosby, KGAL’s associate director, said:A number of our engineers started their careers with the original supplier of the gates, so it’s appropriate that they now apply their skills to extending the life of this structure.”

Commissioned in the mid-1930s, the Galloway Hydro Scheme was the first large-scale integrated hydro-electric complex to be built in Britain and consists of six power stations, eight dams and a network of tunnels, aqueducts and pipelines. At its peak during construction, more than 1,500 people were employed on the project.



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