The funding will be used over four years to promote the region’s heritage, boost the local economy and support sustainability initiatives in local communities.
Drax Group acquired the historic Galloway Hydro Scheme as part of a portfolio of important renewable, low carbon and flexible power generation assets earlier this year.
The Galloway Hydro Scheme was commissioned in the 1930s and was the first large-scale integrated hydro-electric complex to be built in Britain. It consists of six power stations, eight dams and a network of tunnels, aqueducts and pipelines – all working together to produce enough renewable electricity for 90,000 households at times of peak demand.
Tongland Power Station is the largest of the Galloway Hydro Scheme’s electricity generation plants and provides an excellent example of early modernist architecture in an industrial setting.
Its uniqueness and the significance of Loch Ken, which is an important part of the system as well as the local landscape, brought the hydro-electricity scheme to the attention of the Galloway Glens Initiative.
Ted Leeming, Chairman of the Galloway Glens, said:
“Through the Galloway Glens we aim to address the challenges faced by the area, by harnessing the potential of local heritage sites like this one. We are developing education and training initiatives, supporting the tourism economy and encouraging young people to stay and work locally. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Drax; I look forward to welcoming them to the Partnership Board and their donation will ‘turbo-charge’ our activities, putting Galloway on the map.”
Ian Kinnaird, Drax Group’s Head of Hydro said:
“We’re proud of the fact that the Galloway Hydro Scheme is considered a prominent feature of the local landscape. Drax is committed to supporting the local communities within which we operate and doing all we can to ensure they thrive. We look forward to helping to continue the good work of the Galloway Glens Scheme in this area.”
Chair of Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment & Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Archie Dryburgh, added:
“We welcome Drax to Dumfries & Galloway and are delighted they are formal partners of the Galloway Glens Scheme. Our priority is to support the local economy, and this is a great example of our amazing cultural and natural heritage driving genuine economic benefits on the ground.”
The Galloway Glens Initiative is formed of partnerships between the Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Environment Team, as well as organisations like the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.
In 2017, it received an award of £2.7 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support its work in the region.
Photo: Drax, The Galloway Glens Scheme & D&G Council meeting by Loch Ken
L-R Councillor Archie Dryburgh – D&G Council, Vicky Bullivant – Drax Group Head of Sustainable Business, Ted Leeming – Galloway Glens Scheme Chairman, Ian Kinnaird – Drax Group Head of Hydro.
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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