French electricity company, Engie are set to spend £50m on the revamp of a UK hydro power project.
Engie is to spend £50m on modernising its Ffestiniog Power Station in North Wales. The 360MW facility is part of the 2GW First Hydro pumped storage plant in Snowdonia and was commissioned in 1963. Engie owns 75% of the First Hydro Company which is made up of Ffestiniog and the Dinorwig Power Station.
German engineering firm, Voith Hydro have won the contract to carry out the work on units 1 & 2, with an option to refurb units 3 & 4 at a later date. Work will begin at the end of 2018, with a completion date of early 2020, it is thought the work will extend the life of the two units by at least 20 years.
Engie UK and Ireland CEO, Wilfrid Petrie said: “The refurbishment of the Ffestiniog Power Station is a major commitment to infrastructure development in Wales.
We are delighted to announce this investment in Ffestiniog and our partnership with Voith to deliver this important project. The contract was awarded to Voith based on their technically thorough and competitively priced solution.”
Hydro power is expected to play a greater role in the UK as the grid looks at ways to manage supply during times when wind and solar generation is low.
Welsh Environment Secretary Lesley Griffiths said: “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.”
Ffestiniog is thought to be one of the first pumped storage systems in the UK and is capable of producing enough electricity to power every home in North Wales for around 3 and a half hours.