Virtual tours of ‘Hollow Mountain’ Cruachan Power Station to support home learning

School children can immerse themselves in how an underground power station in the heart of a mountain keeps Scotland’s lights on through a new virtual tour aimed at supporting STEM education and skills during the Covid-19 crisis.

  • Drax Group has created the online resource to help schools continue to inspire students to study STEM subjects during the Covid19 lockdown
  • The initiative builds on Drax’s Laptops for Learners initiative, through which it has donated 853 laptops to 50 local schools and colleges across Great Britain

Drax Group has launched the free online resource for students to use from the comfort of their own homes as part of its efforts to support its communities during the lockdown.

Cruachan power station, in Argyll, is a unique pumped hydro storage plant located in the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.  Using its reversible turbines, the station pumps water from Loch Awe to fill an upper reservoir on the mountainside at times when demand for electricity is low. This process allows the plant to act like a giant battery to store the water for when it is needed. When demand increases, the stored water can be released through the plant’s turbines to generate power quickly and reliably.

Each year the power station has 50,000 visitors, many of whom are students, visiting as part of Drax’s efforts to work with schools and colleges to promote Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects.

Since the Covid-19 crisis began, Drax has suspended its public tours at the power station to protect employees who are key workers, playing a crucial role in generating the electricity the country needs as the lockdown continues.

To support its local communities Drax has donated 853 laptops to 50 schools and colleges across the country, including 182 to 17 schools and colleges across Scotland helping to make sure children without access to computers or the internet at home are not left behind in their studies.

Drax Group’s head of sustainable business, Vicky Bullivant, said:

“We work closely with schools in our communities to inspire children from all backgrounds to study STEM subjects, so the next generation has the education and skills needed to support businesses like ours as we continue to develop and grow.

“With students having to be home-schooled during the Covid-19 crisis it’s essential they don’t miss out on the opportunities businesses like Drax would usually provide in creating positive experiences for them to support their studies.

“The virtual tours we’ve created builds on the work we’ve already done to provide laptops and free internet access, to ensure no students are left behind during the lockdown.”

Through its unique design, Cruachan can generate electricity in as little as 30 seconds when the grid needs it. The Hollow Mountain’s four generating units can provide enough flexible power for around 880,000 homes.

The power station is also a leading provider of support services and was recently awarded a six-year stability contract by National Grid to help keep Britain’s electricity system safe and secure.

Drax Group, the owner of the power station, recently announced a world-leading ambition to become carbon negative by 2030 through pioneering new negative emissions technology bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

The virtual online tour shows viewers how Cruachan operates like a giant battery and how power stations generate the electricity we all use in our everyday lives.


Media contacts:

Aidan Kerr
Drax Group Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: 07849090368

Editor’s Notes

  • The tours will be available on Drax Group’s Vimeo, YouTube channel and Facebook
  • Read more about Cruachan’s incredible construction on the Drax website.
  • Drax Group was the first company in the world to announce an ambitions to become carbon negative by 2030.
  • Through using BECCS at scale around 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide could be captured at Drax Power Station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, a significant proportion of the negative emissions required for the UK to reach its zero carbon targets.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030.

Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

Power generation:

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 five 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.


Through its two B2B energy supply brands, Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax supplies energy to 250,000 businesses across England, Scotland and Wales.

Pellet production:

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