Carbon Emissions - Drax

Carbon Emissions

Drax has a significant role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy and this informs our purpose to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. We are committed to supporting the UK government to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Managing Climate Change Risks and Opportunities

We are committed to the identification, management and disclosure of our climate change risks and opportunities in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). In 2019, we responded to the CDP Climate questionnaire and received a score of C. We introduced climate change as a new principal risk category.

Our Negative Emissions Ambition

At the UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 in December 2019, Drax announced our ambition to become carbon negative by 2030. We have signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative to further assure that our target is aligned with climate science.

Using technologies such as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), Drax aims to remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces, creating a negative carbon footprint for the Group. Our leading ambition is only achievable with an effective negative emissions policy and investment framework for technologies such as BECCS.

“Drax’s ambition is to be carbon negative by 2030. Having pioneered the use of sustainable biomass, Drax now produces 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity. With the right negative emissions policy, we can do much more, removing millions of tonnes of emissions from the atmosphere each year.”

Will Gardiner

Group CEO

Innovating to Decarbonise our Business

Carbon capture and utilisation is part of our business strategy and we made progress on this work in 2019. Drax has set up a Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) demonstration pilot at Drax Power Station with C-Capture, a start-up from the University of Leeds. We also secured funding from the UK Government to explore the feasibility of building a second carbon capture pilot at Drax Power Station, using molten carbonate fuel cells as a technology for capturing carbon dioxide.

In September 2019, together with Equinor and National Grid Ventures, we launched the Zero Carbon Humber Campaign to develop the first zero carbon industrial cluster in the UK by 2040.

Carbon emissions

Group total carbon emissions (Scope 1 and 2) fell 47% between 2018 and 2019. This reflects a reduction in coal generation and an increased share of generation from biomass, gas, hydro and pumped storage. The reduction in carbon emissions at Drax Power Station had the most significant impact. With four of the six generating units now converted to biomass from coal, emissions from Drax Power Station have fallen from 22.7 million tCO2 in 2012 to below 1 million tCO2 in 2019.

Significant emissions reduction activities undertaken in 2019 included the installation of a new high-pressure turbine on Unit 2 at Drax Power Station, at a cost of £12.5 million, to improve its efficiency. We have also improved the energy efficiency at some of our Customers business facilities, with measures such as installing solar panels, LED lighting and battery storage.

 Unit201920182017
Carbon Emissions
Generation Carbon Emissions (1)ktCO21,958 *4,139 §6,215 §
Group Total Scope 1 (2)ktCO2e2,049 *4,233 §6,296 §
Group Total Scope 2 (3)ktCO2e322 *252 §209 §
Group Total Scope 1 and 2ktCO2e2,371 *4,484 §6,505 §
Proportion of Group emissions within the UK%93.296.598.5
Biologically Sequestered Carbon Emissions (Biomass Combustion)
Biologically sequestered carbon (4)ktCO2e12,79513,01912,212
Total Energy Consumption
Group total energy consumptionkWh46,025,306,19850,269,781,751-
Group total energy consumption within the UKkWh43,852,816,52148,075,425,472-
Notes
Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are reported against a criterion of operational control. This means emissions from all sites that are wholly owned by Drax or where Drax has operational control of the emission pathway through the opportunity to select and manage its own suppliers. GHGs are reported in units of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Conversions from non-CO2 GHGs use the most up-to-date published IPCC global warming potentials for a 100-year period without climate carbon feedbacks. A materiality threshold of 75 tCO2e/year has been applied.
(1) Generation emissions covers all direct emissions from our own business operations that fall under the scope of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)
(2) Scope 1 covers all direct emissions from our own business operations, across all sites
(3) Scope 2 covers all indirect emissions associated with our electricity and heat consumption, across all sites
(4) The biogenic CO2 emissions resulting from generation are counted as zero in official reporting to both UK authorities and under the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) as the use of sustainable biomass is considered to be CO2 neutral at the point of combustion. This methodology originates from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
§ 2017 and 2018 data has been recalculated to reflect an update to the materiality threshold applied
* Limited external assurance using the assurance standard ISAE 3000 for 2019 data as indicated. For assurance statement and basis of reporting see https://www.drax.com/assurance-statement/

Carbon Intensity

The expansion and diversification of our generation portfolio to include hydro, pumped storage and gas, alongside reduced coal generation and increased biomass generation, has reduced the carbon intensity of our total generation by 50% in 2019 compared to 2018.

 Unit201920182017
Carbon Intensity
Generation (5)GWh17.318.320.0
Generation emissions per GWh of electricity generationtCO2/GWh113226311
Group emissions per GWh of electricity generationtCO2e/GWh137245325
(5) Excluding Cruachan Power Station which utilises electricity import for pumping to balance the grid

Zero Carbon Energy Supply

Our Customers business is committed to sourcing the renewable power that our customers want. We provided over 150,000 UK businesses with 100% renewable electricity, making our Customers business the largest renewable electricity supplier to UK business in the Ofgem compliance period ending in 2019.

Our Customers business fuel mix disclosures are available at: