Drax, a UK-based electric services company, has hired hydro-engineering consultant Studio Pietrangeli to enhance the layout of its Cruachan pumped storage expansion. The new underground pumped hydro facility, with a 600 MW capacity, will be constructed next to Drax’s current Cruachan complex in Argyll, Scotland. According to the agreement, Studio Pietrangeli will operate as the project’s owner’s engineer and provide assistance with vital tasks including optimising the layout and design of the new facility.

Additionally, it will provide its expertise of rock excavation and tunnelling within Ben Cruachan and prepare specifications for a front end engineering and design (FEED) study. The Cruachan II hydro project, once finished, will be one of Europe’s most advanced pumped storage plants. To install the technology, Drax needs to acquire permission from the Scottish Government, as well as an updated policy and market support mechanism from the UK Government.

In August 2022, Bechtel was awarded a contract by BE Power and GE Renewable Energy, a division of General Electric, to provide planning support for a pumped storage hydropower facility in Australia. The Big-T hydropower project is located in south-east Queensland at Lake Cressbrook. It consists of a 400 MW pumped hydro energy storage facility and a 200 MW battery energy storage facility, with enough capacity to power 288,000 homes with clean electricity. Due to its ability to produce and store electricity, the project would serve as an extension to Australia’s national energy grid.