Drax Power Station - Drax

Drax Power Station

The UK’s largest renewable power station

Drax Power Station has a long, proud history of playing a central role in producing the UK’s electricity and is now home to the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

The site near Selby in North Yorkshire provides 12% of the country’s renewable power and has evolved considerably since construction began in 1973.

It now has six boilers, four of which have now been converted to biomass. With each as high as a 15-storey office block, a main chimney almost twice the height of the London Eye, and over 1,800 miles of steel tubing, enough to stretch from John O’Groats to Land’s End and back again, you have to see it to believe it – which you can do on a free tour of the site, although these are currently suspended during the pandemic.

View of Drax Power Station

Drax Power Station

The power station is connected directly to the national electricity transmission grid, for which it provides a host of system support services.

You may have seen our distinctive cooling towers on the skyline around Goole. Many observers think that the towers are pumping out smoke when it is actually water vapour which does not harm the environment. If you want to learn and see more about how the cooling towers operate watch our video exploring the inside of one.

The station has a capacity of 3,906 megawatts (MW) and produces around 15 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power a year, 94% using compressed wood pellets, a form of sustainably sourced biomass. The remainder is produced using coal, a fossil fuel being phased out from normal operation by March 2021, and will cease operation completely by September 2022.

Key facts:

  • Drax Power station provides 6% of the country’s electricity needs

  • The use of biomass pellets reduces our carbon emissions by 80% compared to coal

  • The station has a capacity of 3,906 megawatts (MW) and produces around 15 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power a year

  • The biomass domes are each taller than Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s roller coaster ‘The Big One’  – which store up to 80,000 tonnes of biomass.

  • Each of the 12 cooling towers are 345 feet high

As well as being an important strategic asset nationally, able to keep the lights on in more than 6 million homes, Drax Power Station is also vital to the regional economy with more than 700 people are employed at the plant throughout the year and supports over 3,200 jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber area.