There are very many hydropower generators in the UK ranging from a couple of hundred Watts up to hundreds of Kilowatts. Below are listed details of some of the largest (80MW+) hydro power stations in the United Kingdom. All are located in Scotland with the exception of the largest of all, Dinorwig, which is in North Wales and is the largest in the UK.
To find out more about Hydro Electric Power click here for a short introduction.
Biggest Hydro Power Stations in the UK
Dinorwig Power Station (1,728MW)
The Dinorwig Power Station in Wales was commission in 1984 and has a huge 1.7GW power rating. 10 miles of underground tunnels buried beneath Elidir mountain carry water down from Marchlyn Mawr to the six 288MW turbine generators situated in Europe’s largest man-made cavern. During construction 12 million tonnes of material was excavated and 1 million tonnes of concrete and 4,500 tonnes of steel used. A schematic diagram is displayed below:
Ben Cruachan Power Station (400MW)
This unique Scottish hydro power station is actually built inside a mountain. In 1965 a dam across Loch Cruachan was opened by the Queen. The loch’s water is then carried by two massive pipes through the mountain to turbine generators hidden in a man made cavern in the centre of the mountain. At night time when less power is needed across the UK, the turbines are reversed and water is pumped back up to the reservoir storing energy to be used in the day time.
Foyers Power Station (305MW)
The Foyers hydro-electric power scheme is located on the Southeast corner of Loch Ness in Scotland. During off-peak times surplus electricity from the National Grid is used to pump water from Loch Ness up to Loch Mhor (a man-made reservoir linking two natural lochs). This water can then be released to turn turbines and generate electricity at times of peak usage. 100 cubic metres of water pass through each of two huge turbine generators during generation giving a total capacity of over 300MW.
Lochaber Hydroelectric Power (84MW)
The power generated by the Lochaber hydroelectric turbine is used by the aluminium smelter at Fort William. Constructed before WWII, a 15 mile 4.5m wide conduit (for 50 years the world’s longest water supply tunnel) from Loch Laggan to Loch Treig and on to Ben Nevis takes water down to the aluminium smelter power house where it generates over 80MW of electricity.
Mossford Power Station(247MW)
In the 1950’s the Vaich Dam was constructed creating Loch Vaich. From here and Loch Droma water is taken to another man-made loch, Lock Glascarnoch which is situated behind the Glascarnoch Dam. From there a 5 mile long tunnel takes water to the Mossford power station generating almost 250MW of electricity.
Sloy Power Station (160MW)
The Loch Sloy hydro scheme was build just after WWII taking water down from Loch Sloy to Loch Lomond and generating electricity for the city of Glasgow. It is another pumped storage system used to generate electricity at peak periods from the kinetic energy held by water pumped up to Loch Sloy during the night.