Energy giant Drax has completed a £1 million refurbishment of a historic Stonebyres hydroelectric power station on the banks of the river Clyde which it bought from ScottishPower.

Drax said the work on the A-listed Stonebyres plant in Lanarkshire would help ensure it remains operational for years.

Stonebyres forms part of the Lanark hydro scheme, which has been in operation since 1927.

This generates enough power for 17,000 homes.

The scheme was the first large-scale hydroelectric facility of its kind in Britain.It also includes the Bonnington power station.

Drax said work on the Stonebyres plant was complex and challenging. It involved replacing all the original panes of glass and window frames using stronger, modern materials, while retaining the original design and applying a new concrete coating.

The company reckons power stations such as Stonebyres can play an important part in support of the drive to reduce carbon emissions.

Head of hydro Ian Kinnaird said: “Stonebyres Power Station has been producing reliable, renewable electricity for almost a century, and this major refurbishment will ensure it continues to do so for many years to come.”

Drax also operates the Galloway hydroelectric scheme, which includes six power stations.

It acquired the Lanark and Galloway schemes with a portfolio bought from ScottishPower in a £700m deal in 2018.

The portfolio includes the giant Cruachan pumped hydro storage facility in Argyll and gas fired power stations in England.

Cruchan can supply power when needed to make up for fluctuations in the output of renewable energy plants such as windfarms.

Drax did not elaborate on its plans for its facilities in Scotland yesterday. In February it said Cruachan and the hydro schemes had been performing strongly.

The company is preparing to stop using coal as an energy source at the huge Yorkshire power plant from which it takes its name.

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