|Location||Argyll and Bute|
|Commission date||15 October 1965|
|Developer(s)||North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board|
|Upper reservoir||Cruachan Reservoir|
|Reservoir capacity||10,000,000 m3 (13,000,000 cu yd)|
|Catchment area||23 km2 (9 sq mi)|
|Lower reservoir||Loch Awe|
|Penstocks||19 km (12 mi)|
|Hydraulic head||396 m (1,299 ft)|
|Installed capacity||440 MW|
|Annual generation||705 GWh (in 2009)|
The power station was built in the early 1960s, and was opened by the Queen on 15 October 1965. It was originally operated by the Hydro-electric Board, but has been owned by Scottish Power since the privatisation of Britain's electricity industry in 1990.
Water is pumped from Loch Awe to the upper reservoir, 360 m above, during periods of low energy use (such as at night). A 316 m-long dam forms this reservoir. Additionally the upper reservoir receives rainwater; tunnels have been built through Ben Cruachan to catch rain coming from all sides of the mountain. Around 10% of the energy from the station is generated from rainwater; the rest is from the water pumped up from Loch Awe.
The station is capable of generating 440 MW of electricity. It can go from standby to full production in two minutes, thus it is used to deal with periods of peak demand on the grid. If the turbines are on "spinning reserve" (turning in air, awaiting the rush of water) full output can be achieved within 30 seconds. It can operate for 22 hours before the supply of water in the top reservoir is exhausted. The power station is required to keep a 12 hour emergency supply; this is referred to as a Black Start.
There are four turbines, which operate both as pumps and generators. These are housed in a cavern located within Ben Cruachan. The excavation of this cavern required the removal of 220,002 m³ of rock and soil.
The power station was listed by the conservation organisation DoCoMoMo as one of the sixty key monuments of post-war Scottish architecture. There is a visitor centre at the outflow to Loch Awe, and tours of the tunnels are available for visitors. The Falls of Cruachan railway station is nearby.
The dam features in Danny MacAskill's bike trials video, "Way Back Home", released in 2010.
Thirty-six men died in the construction of the power station and dam.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cruachan Dam.|
- "Cruachan: The Hollow Mountain: History". Visit Cruachan. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "Cruachan power station: site information" (PDF). Scottish Power. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "Engineering award for Cruachan power station's 'hidden' hydro scheme". BBC News website. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- Bill Ray (23 July 2013). "Boffins, Tunnel Tigers and Scotland's world-first power mountain". The Register. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Visitor Centres". Scottish Power. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "Visit Cruachan". www.visitcruachan.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- R. S. Riddell Black (1966). "The Hollow Mountain". Scottish Screen Archive (North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board / National Library of Scotland).
- Hydroelectric Royal Opening. British Pathe. 1965.
- "Cruachan Power Station: Biodiversity Information" (PDF). Scottish Power. Retrieved 2012-08-31.