UK Government Minister, Lord Duncan of Springbank, visited the award-winning tourist attraction and pledged his support for the initiative.
The announcement follows Drax Group’s acquisition of Cruachan power station at the end of 2018 as part of a £702 million deal and is part of the company’s efforts to promote education and skills – particularly STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subjects.
Lord Duncan toured the site, which welcomes around 50,000 visitors every year, learning about Cruachan Power Station and how the site can power the equivalent of more than 90,000 homes at times of peak electricity demand.
Constructed between 1959 and 1965, it was the first power station of its kind and size anywhere in the world. Just a short distance from Oban, the site is also a haven for wildlife, with swallows, ospreys, pine martens and golden eagles all calling the mountain home.
UK Government Minister Lord Duncan said:
“As well as being a working power station, Cruachan is a spectacular tourist attraction. I first visited the dam as a school pupil, and remember being in awe of the engineering achievement. I therefore welcome the fact that pupils and students are being given the opportunity to see this great example of first-class engineering free of charge.
“Renewable energy is vital for all our futures and Cruachan’s commitment to educating young people about its important role in power generation and as a home to nature is to be applauded.”
Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO said:
“We are delighted to announce that we will now be offering free tours for all schools and higher education establishments during term time, as part of our commitment to STEM learning.
“The tour really is an inspiring experience – we take visitors right inside the mountain to see the power station, including the turbine hall. We’re keen to share this feat of engineering with the next generation to inspire them, and offering free educational visits as we do at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire is the obvious next step.”
The visitor centre is open from 9:15am to 3:45pm in winter and 9:15am to 4:45pm in summer, Monday to Friday. The Hollow Mountain café is open to all, serving soups, sandwiches and salads using produce grown from the visitor centre’s own herb garden.
To find out more about visiting Cruachan, go to https://www.visitcruachan.co.uk/.
- To book a tour of the power station, go to https://www.visitcruachan.co.uk/pages/request_a_tour.aspx. Prices start from £2.50 for children.
- To find out more about group and educational bookings, go to https://www.visitcruachan.co.uk/pages/education_and_school_visits.aspx.
Drax Group’s ambition is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. Its 2,600-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies six percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Having converted two thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.
Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan. It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.
Drax owns two B2B energy supply businesses:
- Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity and energy services to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
- Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity, energy services and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.
Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
For more information visit www.drax.com/uk