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. It is already the home of the largest decarbonisation project in Europe and is now the site of innovation for bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), a negative emissions technology essential for fighting the climate crisis.
The site near Selby in North Yorkshire provides the most renewable power of any single location in the UK, some 14 terawatt-hours (TWh) or enough electricity to power the equivalent of four million homes. Drax Power Station has evolved considerably since construction began in the 1960s.
It 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.
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 the power it produces is almost 100% using compressed wood pellets, a form of sustainably sourced biomass. Its renewable biomass capacity is 2,595 MW.
Its two coal units ceased commercial operations in March 2021 and its Capacity Market obligations will be completed in September 2022.
- 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 millions of homes, businesses and public sites, 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 4,200 jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber area.