Major refurbishment of historic UK hydro station complete

7 July 2020

A 1.1m refurbishment of the historic Stonebyres hydroelectric power station on the banks of the River Clyde, near Lanark has been completed by energy company Drax Group ahead of the project’s 100th anniversary.

The refurbishment of the Stonebyres power station – which is part of the Lanark Hydro scheme – was a complex task due to it being a category A listed building, the highest possible grading, as a result of it being designated as a site of national architectural importance.

“Restoring Stonebyres has been a labour of love for my team,” Drax Group senior civil engineer Anne Kerr who led the proejct said. “It was a complex and challenging project, involving a great deal of care to protect the station’s many original features. It has been a real privilege to not only safeguard Stonebyres’ history but to play a part in its future too.”

As part of the project, every original pane of glass and window frame in the building was painstakingly replaced using stronger, modern materials, but which retain the station’s original design. The power station’s exterior received a new concrete coating as well as a coat of mineral-based paint to protect the integrity of the building for decades to come.

“Since the refurbishment, the station looks almost brand new – you would be forgiven for not realising it has been generating electricity for the area since 1927,” added Ian Kinnaird, Drax’s Head of Hydro. “Scotland has a long and proud history of hydroelectricity, and with this project Drax is ensuring these power stations play an important part in securing a net zero carbon future for our country.”

Drax acquired the Lanark hydro scheme alongside the Galloway hydro scheme and the Cruachan pumped-hydro storage facility in Argyll in January 2019, helping to make the company a leading provider of flexible, low carbon and renewable power generation.

The Lanark hydro scheme, which comprises both Stonebyres and Bonnington power stations, was the first large-scale hydroelectric scheme in Britain when it was completed in 1927 – producing enough electricity for around 17,000 homes.


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