Carbon Emissions - Drax

Tackling climate change is at the heart of our purpose and we are committed to helping the UK and the wider world to achieve its climate change targets.

Our carbon negative ambition

Drax’s ambition is to become carbon negative by 2030, using technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than we produce throughout our direct business operations. We are committed to the Science Based Targets initiative, to further assure that our target is aligned with climate science.

Flexible, renewable and low carbon energy

Our Generation business operates a portfolio of flexible, renewable and low-carbon assets to support the energy system’s growing use of intermittent renewable energy. In 2020, 77% of the power generated by Drax was renewable.

Our Customers business is the largest supplier of renewable electricity to businesses by annual consumption and provides a route to market for over 2,000 renewable generators. For the first time, 100% of the electricity procured and supplied by Haven Power and Opus Energy during the 2019-2020 Ofgem reporting year was from renewable sources. Our Customers business also sold 2.8TWh of natural gas to customers in 2020.

Our Customers business fuel mix disclosures are available at:

Opus Energy

Haven Power

Carbon emissions

In 2020, our absolute carbon emissions (scope 1 and 2) increased by 30% compared with 2019. This reflects an increase in coal generation in 2020, as remaining coal stocks were used ahead of the planned closure of commercial coal generation at Drax Power Station in March 2021. In addition, Shoreham Power Station was fully operational in 2020, following outage work completed in 2019.

Since 2012, our absolute carbon emissions (scope 1 and 2) have fallen more than 85%, with four of the six generating units at Drax Power Station converted to biomass from coal.

In 2020, we invested in significant upgrades to our turbines and associated equipment at Drax Power Station, which will result in lower carbon emissions and improved energy efficiency. At Cruachan Pumped Storage Power Station, work to replace four sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) circuit breakers with vacuum circuit breakers was completed in 2020, reducing the total potential for emissions from this source by up to 500 tCO2e per year.

 Unit202020192018
Carbon Emissions
Generation CO 2 emissions  (1)ktCO2268219584139
Group total scope 1  (2)ktCO2e2,762*20494233
Group total scope 2 (location-based)  (3)ktCO2e318*322252
Group total scope 1 and 2ktCO2e 3,080* 23714484
Proportion of Group emissions within the UK%95.3*93.296.5
Group total scope 3  (4)ktCO2e3,135*
Biologically sequestered carbon  (5)ktCO2e132731279513019
Total energy consumption
Group total energy consumptionkWh48,253,807,865*4602530619850269781751
Group total energy consumption within the UKkWh470905242964385281652148075425472
Note: Carbon emissions are reported against a criterion of operational control. Carbon emissions are reported in units of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) and include all greenhouse gases as required by the GHG Protocol. A materiality threshold of 75tCO2e/year is applied. For the basis of reporting see www.drax.com/sustainability/approach/#assurance-statement

(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) Group total scope 1 covers all direct emissions from our own business operations, across all sites
(3) Group total scope 2 covers all indirect emissions associated with our electricity and heat consumption, across all sites
(4) Group total scope 3 excludes downstream leased assets
(5) The biogenic carbon 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
* Limited external assurance using the assurance standard ISAE 3000 and based on Drax using the Corporate Greenhouse Gas Protocol, for 2020 data as indicated. For assurance statement and basis of reporting see www.drax.com/sustainability/approach/#assurance-statement

Carbon emissions by greenhouse gas type

  2020UnitCO2CH4N20SF6HFCsPFCsTotal
Group total scope 1ktCO2e2699.75012-0.2-2762
Group total scope 2 (location-based)ktCO2e315.60.81.6---318
Group total scope 1 and 2ktCO2e3015.450.913.6-0.2-3080
Note: Carbon emissions are reported against a criterion of operational control. Carbon emissions are reported in units of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) and include all greenhouse gases as required by the GHG Protocol. A materiality threshold of 75tCO2e/year is applied. For the basis of reporting see www.drax.com/sustainability/approach/#assurance-statement

Scope 3 emissions

We recognise the impact our carbon emissions have across the value chain. In 2020, we undertook work with a third party, to better understand our scope 3 emissions in areas such as purchased goods and services, and capital expenditure. We are developing a scope 3 target that will enable us to align to the Science Based Targets initiative.

The primary contribution to our scope 3 emissions comes from our fuel and energy related activities. This includes fuel supply chains, such as biomass, natural gas and coal. The second largest contribution comes from the use of sold products. This includes the end use of natural gas purchased and sold by our Customers business.

 Unit2020
Scope 3 emissions category
Purchased goods and servicestCO2e397,282
Capital goodstCO2 e186,637
Fuel and energy related activitiestCO2e1,706,748
Upstream transportation and distributiontCO2e133,030
Waste generated in operationstCO2e1,117
Business traveltCO2e1,270
Employee commutingtCO2e5,453
Upstream leased assetstCO2e81
Downstream transportation and distributiontCO2e7,035
Processing of sold productstCO2e8,668
Use of sold productstCO2e687,595
Total Scope 3tCO2e3,134,917
Note: Group total scope 3 excludes downstream leased assets. The following GHG Protocol scope 3 categories are not applicable: end of life treatment of sold products, franchises, investments. For the basis of reporting see www.drax.com/sustainability/approach/#assurance-statement

Carbon intensity

 Unit202020192018
Carbon intensity
Generation  (1)TWh18.817.318.3
Generation emissions per GWh of electricity generationtCO2/GWh143*113226
Group emissions per GWh of electricity generation  (2)tCO2e/GWh164*137245
* Limited external assurance using the assurance standard ISAE 3000 and based on Drax using the Corporate Greenhouse Gas Protocol, for 2020 data as indicated. For assurance statement and basis of reporting see www.drax.com/sustainability/approach/#assurance-statement