Archives: Press Release

Drax Group CEO responds to the California Air Resources Board 2022 scoping plan

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner in the control room at Drax Power Station

Drax Group CEO, Will Gardiner said:

“We fully support and commend the California Air Resources Board on the release of their 2022 scoping plan, which provides an ambitious and attainable pathway to carbon neutrality while creating new jobs and growing the economy. If approved, CARB’s plan is the roadmap companies like Drax need to make bold investments in cutting-edge technologies like bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – the most scalable and affordable mechanical solution for carbon dioxide removal.

BECCS will remove CO2 from the atmosphere and also plays a critical role in preventing and reducing California wildfires through proactive, sustainable forest management. The modeling in CARB’s plan clearly shows there is no path to carbon neutrality without carbon dioxide removal, and our new build BECCS model alone would help the state achieve 30% of the 2030 target.

Additionally, biomass can provide the reliability and grid stability of 24/7 renewable energy that Californians require. As a leading climate science agency, CARB’s recognition of BECCS and biomass as an essential tool to achieve net zero is another important step for us to tackle big, emergency-level challenges like climate change. Our team looks forward to working closely with the governor and his administration as they build the policy frameworks needed to deliver CARB’s scoping plan.”

About CARB’s 2022 Climate Scoping Plan

The plan from the California Air Resources Board reflects Governor Gavin Newsom’s request for more aggressive measures to combat climate change and transition to clean energy. The update to the scoping plan is unprecedented in scale and scope, representing one of the most aggressive approaches to reach carbon neutrality.

Drax donates $10,000 to Ethel Stratton Vance Park Arena in Liberty

The donation will be used to fund two industrial fans that will cool the arena during the warmer months.

Drax has partnered with the Scenic Rivers Alliance to install the fans in the Liberty Arena. The Scenic Rivers Alliance took over management of the arena in July of 2021, and they have continued to enhance and improve the arena and surrounding park since that time.

Angela Harvey, Scenic Rivers Alliance Director of Administration, said: “We have continued to put our all into the arena and the surrounding park. We want it to be a place that everyone in the community and surrounding counties can enjoy, from the campground to the ball fields, to the arena. There is truly something for everyone of every age to enjoy.

“Scenic Rivers strives to promote natural resources in southwest Mississippi, and now that Ethel Stratton Vance Park is under our direction, we can extend our knowledge of this great park to more people. Drax’s donation of the industrial fans will only push us closer to our goals and allow us to use the arena year-round for more community involvement we have planned for the upcoming year.”

The arena is a multipurpose use site for Liberty and the surrounding communities, holding county fairs, car shows, Boy Scout and Girl Scout outings, Amite County Heritage Days, and numerous fundraising and charity events.

Executive Vice President of Drax’s Pellet Operations, Matt White, said: “Drax is excited to support the Scenic Rivers Alliance and their work to reinvigorate Ethel Stratton Vance Park.  We hope that these arena fans will encourage and support a wide array of community events, marking the beginning of a new partnership. Our ambition is to help renovate the trails and bridges within the park forest, encouraging the community to explore and connect with the abundant natural resources all around them.”

The Scenic Rivers Alliance is an organization dedicated to promoting events and outdoor activities in Southwest Mississippi.

Pat Talbert, Mayor of Liberty, said: “As the only park with a covered equestrian arena in the area, we have a responsibility to the surrounding communities. We have to continue with our improvements to provide the best possible experience for everyone. We plan to update the campgrounds to provide another exciting activity, and hopefully in the future, we can construct a small lake that would allow for bank fishing. The possibilities for the park are endless, and I cannot wait for what we have in store for our communities in the future.”

Kay Campbell, Drax Lead Procurement Forester, said: “As a life-long resident of Amite County, I am very proud of our company’s contributions to such a valuable asset in our local area. My grandchildren have been to a range of different events and activities there recently and so my family knows firsthand how important The Ethel Stratton Vance Park is.”

Drax is committed to supporting the communities local to its operations and is this year drawing up plans for a more targeted community spend.

In 2021, Drax supported education and skills in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama and provided donations to help communities hit by natural disasters and Covid and work to support sustainable forestry.

In Mississippi, support included a Christmas toy drive and renovating a local baseball field.

ENDS

Pic caption 1: Kay Campbell, Drax Lead Procurement Forester and family at the Ethel Stratton Vance Park Arena

Media contacts:

Megan Hopgood
Communications Officer
E: [email protected]  
T: 07936 350 175

Editor’s Notes

  • Through its operations in Louisiana and Mississippi, Drax supports more than 1,200 jobs and contributes $175m to the region’s economy.
  • This includes more than 1,200 jobs in Louisiana and Mississippi with 300 direct jobs across these two states in Drax’s three pellet mills and at the port of Greater Baton Rouge.
  • Drax’s pellet mills also support the wider supply chain of loggers, truckers, railway workers, port workers and other logistics professionals.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.

Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit www.drax.com

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.

Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.

The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver 4 million tonnes of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.

Pellet production and supply:

The Group has 18 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate production capacity of around 5 million tonnes a year.

Drax is targeting 8 million tonnes of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3 million tonnes of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.

Drax’s pellet plants supply biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses, and also to customers in Europe and Asia.

Customers: 

Drax supplies renewable electricity to UK businesses, offering a range of energy-related services including energy optimisation, as well as electric vehicle strategy and management.

To find out more go to the website www.energy.drax.com

Drax’s Canadian Biomass

Enabling a zero carbon, lower-cost energy future

As the world’s leading producer and supplier of sustainable biomass, Drax is committed to ensuring the biomass we source delivers positive outcomes for the climate, for nature and for the communities in which we operate.

We are proud of our contribution to Canada and countries around the world.  At a time when industry investment has fallen, Drax has stepped up to invest more than $830m in the Canadian forestry sector – supporting 10,400 jobs and adding $1.1bn to Canada’s GDP in 2021. Biomass creates more jobs per unit of power produced than any other renewable energy source.

Our biomass is used to provide reliable renewable energy, whatever the weather.  It displaces fossil fuels like coal from energy systems, supports climate targets, the communities in which we operate, and strengthens energy security.

Forests are not harvested for biomass, they are harvested for high-value timber that displaces carbon intensive materials like steel and cement.  A key part of an integrated supply chain, biomass plays an important role in producing high-value timber by providing an outlet for the sawdust and residuals created during its production.  Sawmills and pellet mills coexist.  Before a thriving biomass industry existed in BC this material was often simply burned in great quantities, releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gasses into Canada’s atmosphere while damaging air quality in forest communities.

81% of the material used to make pellets at Drax in Canada is sawmill residues – sawdust, wood chips and bark left over when the timber is processed. The rest is material collected from the forest that would otherwise be burned to reduce the risk of wildfires and disease.

This is the biomass used by Drax to produce renewable and secure electricity, playing a vital role in keeping the lights on for millions of homes and businesses. It is also the biomass we will use to deliver our pioneering carbon removal technology, BECCS, which scientists tell us is vital if we are to meet our climate change targets.

As a company we place sustainability at the heart of everything we do.  We understand that biomass is a complex and relatively new part of the energy mix.  Therefore, as the world’s largest producer and consumer of biomass, we invest a great deal of time and effort in understanding and developing our sourcing practices in line with science and the expectations of our stakeholders.  We are committed to producing and consuming biomass that is people, climate, and nature positive.

We look forward to continuing working with our communities, First Nation partners and government to unlock the full potential of Canada’s circular bioeconomy.

A statement from Drax Group CEO, Will Gardiner on Drax’s biomass sourcing

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner

As the world’s leading producer and supplier of sustainable biomass, Drax is committed to ensuring the biomass we source delivers positive outcomes for the climate, for nature and for the communities in which we operate.

To be clear, not all biomass is sustainable or renewable, but when sourced in the right way it does lead to the positive outcomes we are committed to delivering, and we have clear policies and processes in place to ensure this is the case.

As CEO, I understand that achieving and sustaining these positive outcomes needs constant challenge – both internally and externally – particularly with those that don’t share our vision of the critical role biomass has to play in decarbonising our economy.

That is why my team and I dedicate so much of our time to engaging with both advocates and critics of biomass, and whilst these conversations frequently challenge us, they can ultimately make us think differently and change the way we operate for the better.

Biomass remains a relatively new part of the energy mix and it is increasingly important that accurate information is readily available for those wanting to learn more about what we do. We take all claims relating to our business very seriously and investigate them, but equally we feel it is important to identify those occasions where allegations levied against us are misleading or simply untrue.

This week, we have seen inaccurate statements about Drax that have focused primarily on the views of a vocal minority who oppose biomass. Many of these claims have sought to repeat the inaccurate views about biomass, which have for years been promoted by those who are ill-informed about the science behind sustainable forestry and climate change, and those who have vested interests in seeing the biomass industry fail. Given the severity of the false claims made, I wanted to directly address some of the issues:

1. Biomass protects and enhances the environment

Done right, biomass plays a critical role in protecting and enhancing our environment. Not only does biomass displace fossil fuels directly in the production of electricity, it also supports markets for wooden products used in construction that replace the use of other carbon intensive materials like cement.

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the world’s leading science-based climate authority, backed by thousands of scientists – restated in their latest report the critical role that biomass will play in meeting global climate targets when sourced sustainably.

The forests that we source our biomass from are managed in accordance with best practices designed to support the health and growth of these forests over the long term. For example, in Canada, forest management has helped stop the spread of disease and forest fires that have destroyed forest ecosystems and the biodiversity which exists there.

In the South of the US, we take thinnings that help to open up the forest canopy and get light onto the forest floor, which in turn supports habitats for insects, wildflowers and species such as quail, which have been in decline.

2. Demand for pellets does not drive deforestation

Demand for pellets is not driving deforestation.  Canada has a 0% deforestation rate.  In the US South, forest inventory has more than doubled since the 1950s.  The demand for pellets is a tiny fraction of overall demand for wooden products, less than 0.1% in the US. In Canada less than half a percent (0.36%) is harvested each year, with pellets being a fraction of that demand.

The sawdust, bark, wood chips, and thinnings as well as diseased and damaged wood produced when the forests are harvested for other sectors makes up a small proportion of the total fibre harvested – just 5% in British Columbia and 4% in the south of the US. (Forest harvest statistics show wood pellet production (woody biomass) accounts for about 4% of material harvested in the US according to UN’s FAOSTAT Forestry. In British Columbia, 74 million cubic meters (m3) harvested through the BC Annual Allowable Cut, converted to metric tonnes (mt) is about 45 million mt. BC exported 2.37 million mt of wood pellets, which is 5.3% of overall harvest).

3. What are Category Two Licences and why does Drax hold them?

Under the Category Two Licence programme in British Columbia, Canada, Drax is eligible to bid for tenure agreements on plots of land that are issued by the British Columbia Timber Sales Programme (BCTS) which is an arm of Government.

The Category Two Licence program is based on a well-established and legislated process.

The bidding procedure is a sealed, online process and if successful, Drax has a power of attorney (POA) in place where all harvesting obligations become the responsibility of the sawmilling company that holds the POA. This practice is permitted under the terms of the BCTS.

It is the sawmill company which controls the harvesting and sorting processes of the forest material and thereby ensures that it gets what it needs. Drax is not involved in the harvesting or sorting process.

We have arrangements with the sawmills we work with to supply us with sawmill residuals – sawdust, chips and bark which is used to produce wood pellets in exchange for the rights to the timber on Category Two Licences. The economics of the wood pellet industry do not facilitate full scale harvesting for the manufacture of pellets.

Drax’s name stays on the licence’s paperwork because the company is the bid winner. This does not mean Drax undertakes any harvesting activity.

Drax currently holds two Category Two Licences in British Columbia. At this time, we are not bidding for any more Category Two Licences in British Columbia.

The BBC claimed that one of the plots of land they featured would not have been harvested had Drax not bid on it – because there were no other bidders. In circumstances where no one bids on a plot of land, the British Columbia Government often puts it up for auction again.

4. The BBC was wrong to give a false impression that logs were being taken from the two featured Category Two Licence areas and taken to our Meadowbank pellet plant in British Columbia

Drax did not receive any material from the two featured Category Two Licence areas in the BBC’s Panorama programme.

The truck the BBC followed and showed taking logs to the Meadowbank facility was, we believe, visiting a different area of forest to the locations of either of our Category Two Licence areas.

In the programme, the reporter says they followed the logging truck “60 miles (95km) north on the highway”, before turning off on the logging road. We don’t know where they went but we know the licenses that are in our name are 350km away from our Meadowbank facility.

The logs on that truck were what’s categorised in the forestry industry in British Columbia as left-over material that sawmills don’t want.

One of the two Category Two Licence sites the BBC focused on was felled and cleared by the sawmill company in December 2021. Whilst this sawmill did provide us with residuals relating to our agreement with them, it did not come from this site.

The forest companies control the sorting and harvesting process, to ensure they get the materials they need. Drax is not involved in that process.

Forest companies harvest the forests and cut the trees into log lengths and sort the portions by multiple product class. Usually this falls into two grades – sawlog grade logs for sawmills and pulp logs for pulp mills.

Sawlogs go to the sawmills and the rest go to where there is a market for them – if there isn’t a market, it becomes left-over and we may take it.

5. Why did the programme show slash being left on the forest floor after harvesting?

Slash is a term used for the very low-grade material which is not merchantable.

Under the British Columbia Government harvesting rules, slash can be left on sites for up to two years to dry out before being taken to a pellet mill or burned on site.

The company we gave the POA to for the harvest of this site will ensure the slash is managed appropriately in line with the British Columbia Government’s regulations.

6. Drax’s Category Two Licences are not areas of primary forest

Primary forest is a term which organisations interpret differently. Drax, and many other organisations, refer to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization definition for primary forest which indicates that primary forests have “no clearly visible indications of human activities”.

Drax has not acquired any Canadian licences for forests designated as primary forests under the UN Food and Agriculture Organization definition.

The BBC’s footage clearly showed that one of the Category Two Licence sites had a nearby road and in the British Columbian Government harvest plan for one of these sites there is a specific requirement for the “700 Road to be screened”.

In our opinion this is evidence that this area was not primary forest and we did not take any material directly from this site.

Areas identified by the Government for harvest are carefully selected by them using an exhaustive list of environmental criteria that includes but is not limited to; old growth management; landscape and site level biodiversity; age class distribution (old growth); riparian management; watershed management; wildlife management; visual quality; species at risk; rare and sensitive ecosystems; cultural heritage resources; soil quality; species diversity; site productivity; as well as social and economic considerations.

7. Does Drax use logs which should instead be sent to sawmills to make wood products?

No. To date in 2022, the material used in our Canadian pellet plants includes 81% sawmill residuals, 8% harvest residuals and 10% roundwood, including pulp logs (grade 4).

All materials are sorted and graded by the sawmill/lumber operator before delivery to Drax. The Grade 4 logs that we use are not higher quality logs. These can be pulp grade logs, but if there is no market for pulp logs then when the sawmills harvest and sort the logs, they become leftover from sawmill material and are often then used by Drax to make pellets.

Commercial forestry is driven by a demand for high grade saw logs, which are processed in sawmills, with the resultant timber then used in construction and manufacturing.

The material that is not used for these purposes – because it is often diseased, mis-shapen or uneconomic – could be used for producing biomass, in line with our sourcing policy.

8. Rigorous independent oversight plays an important part in the governance of the biomass industry

Drax adheres to all required legislation, regulations and standards which govern the energy sector, Drax’s businesses and its supply chains. It ensures the ongoing sustainability of its feedstock in accordance with the required legislation.

The carbon accounting rules that underpin these regulations and standards have been developed in accordance with world leading international science from the UN IPCC 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories and are derived from international frameworks such as the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (“RED”).

Companies which use biomass are required to measure and report on supply chain emissions. These requirements are unique in that they are stricter and more onerous than what is required for other energy generation technologies. As a result, Drax reports on its full supply chain and associated emissions to Ofgem under legislative requirements (including the Renewables Obligation and CfD).

Drax also provides extensive information to voluntary certification schemes, such as the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP), FSC and SFI which provide third party oversight to ensure the material we are using meets the required sustainability standards.

We publish a comprehensive overview of this data in our Annual Reports (including data on Scope 1 and 2 emissions and emissions intensity figures which are audited).

Drax makes all data and information on its emissions and catchment areas, including evidence of forest growth, growing stock, and sequestration rates (forest productivity), available for public consumption. Our supply chain emissions are reported in full in our annual report and accounts. We report all of our emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3).

In addition to this, due to the British Columbia Government’s rigorous legislative system and British Columbia Timber Sale’s SFI certification, we have every confidence that areas selected for harvest, including under the Category 2 programme, are done so to fulfill a government management objective.

This is done as part of the long-term harvest planning process by government, with industry and other stakeholders who have interests in the land, including First Nations and the general public.

Sustainable biomass is increasingly being recognised by governments and scientists around the world as having the potential to play a critical role in tackling the climate crisis, supporting communities and contributing to energy security, and I hope this information reiterates our commitment to sustainability which sits at the heart of our purpose and everything we do.

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO

View our response to the BBC Panorama episode here and more information on biomass sourcing from Canada here.

Drax response to CBC The Fifth Estate programme on BC Forestry

A Drax spokesperson said: “Canada has some of the most highly regulated forests in the world which ensures the forests in British Columbia (BC) are managed properly.

“Drax does not harvest forests and we did not harvest the area CBC looked at in the making of this programme. The forests in British Columbia are harvested for high value timber used in construction, not the production of biomass.

“The United Nation’s IPCC, the world’s leading climate authority, says sustainable biomass will play a critical role in meeting global climate targets. Drax works very closely with governments, forestry experts and communities who live and work in and around the forests in British Columbia, including First Nations, to ensure our operations provide benefits to nature, the climate and people there. They are best placed to determine the right way to manage these forests – not CBC.

“Our world-leading sustainable sourcing policies are also aligned with the rigorous regulatory frameworks set by both the Canadian and UK governments.”

On background:

  • Drax contributed more than $1bn to the Canadian economy last year, and supported 10,400 jobs.
  • 80% of the material used to make Drax’s pellets in Canada is sawmill residues – sawdust, wood chips and bark left over when timber is processed. The rest is waste material collected from the forests which would otherwise be burned to reduce the risk of wildfires and disease.
  • Forests are not harvested for biomass, they are harvested for the high value timber used in construction or when forests are managed for other reasons such as to manage wildfire risks, diseases and pests.
  • Drax uses the by-products and residuals left behind when forests are managed for these reasons.
  • Canada has one of the most regulated forest industries in the world and has laws requiring a specified annual cut to minimise the risk of pest, disease and fire.
  • The area of forest CBC will look at in the programme is part of the annual allowable cut.
  • Our lawyers have written to CBC to remind them of their legal and regulatory obligationsand we will consider further action once we see the programme.
  • Canada has a zero deforestation rate.
  • BC’s forest cover has remained stable over the past few decades at around 55 million hectares, with one of the lowest deforestation rates among all jurisdictions.
  • In British Columbia, less than half a percent (0.36%) of the forested land is harvested according to the Canadian government’s figures.
  • The sawdust, bark, wood chips, as well as diseased and damaged wood produced when the forests are harvested, makes up a small proportion of the total fibre harvested –  just 5% in British Columbia.
  • We provide full details about the sorts of fibre used in our pellets in Drax’s annual report and accounts for 2021.
  • 15% of the biomass used at Drax Power Station in 2021 came from Canada.
  • Drax uses sustainable biomass to produce 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity and has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels by almost 100% over the last decade as a result of using sustainable biomass. It is now one of Europe’s lowest carbon power generators.

 

Biomass Sourcing from Canada

Biomass plays an important role supporting the health of Canadian forests and the communities which rely upon them.

The forests we source from in Canada belong to the public and government sets the harvesting rules and annual harvesting rates for these forests. These rules ensure that harvesting supports the production of wood products but also sawmill and forest residuals that can be turned into renewable power and replace fossil fuels. This also creates jobs and economic and social benefits for communities and First Nations.

The removal of forest residuals also helps prevent the spread of fire, pests and diseases that have devastated forests in British Columbia in the past and continue to pose a serious threat today.

The origin of the biomass industry in Canada is linked to solving an environmental problem, where these residuals were being burned in great quantities, releasing carbon directly into the atmosphere. The biomass industry’s presence in Canada has helped turn this wood into useful renewable electricity instead.

Today, we are part of a forest management system that tries to prevent disease and forest fires from spreading in the first place, by taking the residual material from harvests that mimic as closely as possible the impact of nature on forests without the associated risk that comes from disease and forest fires.

This helps sustain the health of Canadian forests and the safety of the communities that live there, while also producing valuable products including wood pellets that help eliminate fossil fuels from our economy.

Click here to find out more about our biomass sourcing from Canada.

Jesus the Good Shepherd School awarded Drax ‘Classroom of the Month’

Their teacher Sara Jones said: “The Classroom of the Month Program is such a great way to support teachers and students and show appreciation for the exciting things happening in their classrooms. Introducing the students to college at an early age is so important in helping them to understand all their options. It’s great that the college community is getting involved in the area schools to spark the students’ interest in studying within our community.”

The program has been developed by Drax in partnership with the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) to inspire local students to start thinking about their future and what they can achieve, as part of the energy company’s ongoing commitment to supporting education in the communities local to its operations.

A different class each month is awarded ‘Classroom of the Month’ by Drax and receives a visit from ULM representatives to reward the pupils for their hard work and show them some of the options available to them as they advance through school.

Drax has arranged for representatives from the University’s athletics department to visit the schools to talk to the students, raise awareness of the college and answer any questions they might have. The students also receive two tickets each to a Warhawk football, basketball, or baseball game and meet Ace, the team mascot.

Twice during the school year, the Classroom of the Month winners will be invited to the campus for a tour. The students will get to experience the university campus and learn about higher education opportunities right in their hometown.

Drew Bellipanni, Partnership Services Coordinator at ULM, said: “This program is a chance to give back to our local schools and teachers who have worked hard throughout the pandemic to continue teaching our children. We hope Classroom of the Month will motivate students to continue studying as well as see what college has to offer.”

Executive Vice President of Drax’s Pellet Operations, Matt White, said: “It’s so important that the next generation has equal access to education. Even though these children are in the early stages of their school careers, we hope this program will inspire them by showing them what opportunities are available to them in the future.”

Drax is committed to supporting the communities local to its operations and is this year drawing up plans for a more targeted community spend.

In 2021, Drax supported education and skills in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama and provided donations to help communities hit by natural disasters and Covid and work to support sustainable forestry.

In Louisiana, support included Hurricane Ida relief efforts, sponsoring an environmental education workshop for teachers and launching a Classroom of the Month program.

ENDS

Pic caption: Third-grade students at Jesus the Good Shepherd School with Ace, the Warhawk team mascot

Media contacts:

Megan Hopgood
Communications Officer
E: [email protected]  
T: 07936 350 175

Editor’s Notes

  • Through its operations in Louisiana and Mississippi, Drax supports more than 1,200 jobs and contributes $175m to the region’s economy.
  • This includes more than 1,200 jobs in Louisiana and Mississippi with 300 direct jobs across these two states in Drax’s three pellet mills and at the port of Greater Baton Rouge.
  • Drax’s pellet mills also support the wider supply chain of loggers, truckers, railway workers, port workers and other logistics professionals.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.

Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit www.drax.com

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.

Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.

The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver 4 million tonnes of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.

Pellet production and supply:

The Group has 18 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate production capacity of around 5 million tonnes a year.

Drax is targeting 8 million tonnes of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3 million tonnes of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.

Drax’s pellet plants supply biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses, and also to customers in Europe and Asia.

Customers: 

Drax supplies renewable electricity to UK businesses, offering a range of energy-related services including energy optimisation, as well as electric vehicle strategy and management.

To find out more go to the website www.energy.drax.com

Drax response to BBC Panorama programme on Canadian Forestry

A Drax spokesperson said: “Canada has some of the most highly regulated forests in the world which ensures the forests in British Columbia (BC) are managed properly and provide positive benefits to nature, the climate and people.

“People living in and around these forests are best placed to determine how they should be looked after, not the BBC. Drax’s own world-leading sustainable sourcing policies are aligned with the rigorous regulatory frameworks and rules set by both the BC and UK governments.

“The UN’s IPCC – the world’s leading science-based climate authority, backed by thousands of scientists – restated in their latest report the critical role that biomass will play in meeting global climate targets when sourced sustainably. Biomass is used by countries around the world to provide reliable renewable energy, whatever the weather, which displaces fossil fuels like coal from energy systems, supporting climate targets.

“In this edition of Panorama, the BBC has focused primarily on the views of a vocal minority who oppose biomass.  The programme makers have sought to repeat the inaccurate claims about biomass which have for years been promoted by those who are ill-informed about the science behind sustainable forestry and climate change and those who have vested interests in seeing the biomass industry fail. Good journalism should start from a neutral position to seek out the facts.

“The Panorama team did not contact us while they were conducting their research in Canada to arrange to visit our facilities. 

“From the outset we were presented with a series of one-sided assertions from the BBC. Our lawyers have written to the BBC to remind them of their legal and regulatory obligations and we are considering further action.

“At Drax, we are open and transparent about our operations and since becoming aware of the production team’s visit to Canada, many people across our business have collectively spent hundreds of hours engaging with them in an effort to encourage an accurate portrayal of our business and the wider forestry industry.

“As anyone in the BC forestry industry knows, the forests there are not harvested for biomass, they are harvested for high value timber used in construction. 80% of the material used to make our pellets at Drax in Canada is sawmill residues – sawdust, wood chips and bark left over when the timber is processed. The rest is waste material collected from the forests which would otherwise be burned to reduce the risk of wildfires and disease. This is the material used by Drax to produce 12% of the UK’s renewable and secure electricity, playing a vital role in keeping the lights on for millions of homes and businesses.”

New research outlines Drax’s CA$1 billion contribution to B.C. and wider Canadian economy

  • Oxford Economics analysis shows that in 2021 Drax Group contributed CA£1.1 billion towards the Canadian economy and supported 10,400 jobs
  • The Group’s ambitious plans for growth has seen it add a 10th Canadian pellet plant to its portfolio earlier this month as part of a strategy to increase pellet production to 8 million tonnes a year by 2030.

Independent analysis by Oxford Economics has shown that last year renewable energy leader Drax contributed CA$1.1 billion towards the Canadian economy and supported 10,400 jobs across Canada.

The analysis measured the economic impact of Drax Group’s Canadian operations, which includes 10 plants across British Columbia and Alberta which produce sustainable biomass wood pellets used to generate renewable power in the UK and Asia.

The renewable power leader spent CA$736 million with Canadian suppliers last year, with more than half of this total (58%) spent with businesses located in British Columbia. A further 13% was spent with businesses in Alberta and 12% with firms in Montreal.

Drax plans to increase its pellet production capacity from around 5 million tonnes currently to 8 million tonnes by the end of this decade. The company is also developing a pioneering negative emissions technology – bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) which permanently removes millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while at the same time generating renewable power.

Sustainable biomass is central to decarbonization plans across the globe, with the world’s leading climate scientists at the UN’s IPCC viewing BECCS as critical to combatting climate change.

Matt White, Drax’s Senior Vice President, said:

“Not only is Drax playing a critical role in keeping the lights on for millions of homes and businesses across the UK and Asia, but we are also proud to be supporting thousands of jobs in Canada and contributing more than a billion dollars to the economy at a time when it is under severe pressure.

“Sustainable biomass is increasingly attractive to governments and industries around the world. That’s because it supports energy security as it is a reliable renewable power source and when twinned with carbon capture and storage technology, it can permanently remove CO2 from the atmosphere, helping the world reach its climate targets”

Stephen Foreman, Associate Director at Oxford Economics, said:

“Our research demonstrates the significant contribution that a large and successful British company like Drax Group can make to the global economy.

“Drax Group’s operations in the U.K., U.S., and Canada generated £3.1 billion in GDP in 2021 and supported over 35,000 jobs across these three markets. We also find that the activity generated by Drax’s power stations, pellet plants, and corporate offices, is also having a positive impact on local communities across the U.K., the U.S. and Canada.”

Jobs supported by Drax’s activities across Canada covered a wide range of sectors including high-skilled manufacturing of industrial components, engineering and technical machinery and transportation.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Aidan Ker
Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)7849090368

Ali Lewis
Head of Media & PR
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)7712 670 888

Editor’s Notes

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.

Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit www.drax.com

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.

Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.

The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver 4 million tonnes of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.

Pellet production and supply:

The Group has 18 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate production capacity of around 5 million tonnes a year.

Drax is targeting 8 million tonnes of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3 million tonnes of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.

Drax’s pellet plants supply biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses, and also to customers in Europe and Asia.

Customers: 

Drax supplies renewable electricity to UK businesses, offering a range of energy-related services including energy optimisation, as well as electric vehicle strategy and management.

To find out more go to the website www.energy.drax.com