ffestiniog hydropower plant wales renewable energy engie refurbishment

The UK’s first major pumped-storage power facility is set to undergo a £50 million refurbishment.

Ffestiniog hydropower station

ENGIE has signed a construction contract with Voith Hydro to refurbish two of the four units at the 360-megawatt (MW) Ffestiniog hydropower station in North Wales. Commissioned in 1963, the station can generate enough power to supply the electricity needs of North Wales for several hours. Ffestiniog forms part of the 2-gigawatt (GW) First Hydro pumped-storage plant in Snowdonia. The First Hydro joint venture, which includes the Dinorwig Power Station (1,728 MW), is 75% owned by ENGIE. The remaining 25% was recently acquired by Brookfield Renewable Partners LP.

The contract covers the refurbishment of units 1 and 2, and ENGIE confirmed that there is “an option for the refurbishment of units 3 and 4 at a later date.” Design, planning and component production work are due to start immediately, while work on site is expected to start at the end of 2018. The refurbishment is due to be completed by early 2020.

Power infrastructure development in Wales

Wilfrid Petrie, the chief executive officer of ENGIE in the UK & Ireland, said:”This contract was awarded to Voith Hydro, based on their technically thorough and competitively priced solution. This is a major commitment to infrastructure development in Wales. It also confirms ENGIE’s position as one of the UK’s leading producers of flexible, low-carbon energy.”

The decision to revamp the station was welcomed by the Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths. “This is welcome news for Ffestiniog and shows ENGIE’s commitment to the region. The investment will provide long-term job security for local people as well as a strong commitment to low carbon energy generation in Wales. On a visit to First Hydro earlier this year, I heard about ENGIE’s plans for refurbishing the Ffestiniog Power Station, so it’s great to see this moving forward.”

Extended lifetime

The refurbishment of units 1 and 2 is being called a “mid-life refurbishment”. It will ensure that the plant’s operational life is extended for at least a further 20 years.

Source: Industrial Info Resources – 24 August 2017