Britain’s biggest power station lights up for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Drax Power Station, the UK’s biggest generator of renewable electricity, is turning two of its cooling towers red and blue to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

Drax Power Station, the UK’s biggest generator of renewable electricity, is turning two of its cooling towers red and blue to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

Electricity has been generated by Drax since 1974 after it was built by the Central Electricity Generating Board, in an area of Yorkshire known as Megawatt Valley due to a fleet of coal-fired power stations which were built there in the 1960s-1980s.

Drax was not only the biggest, but it was also one of the most advanced and efficient coal-fired power stations ever built in the UK.

Nearly five decades on, Drax has transformed itself to become the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe by using sustainable biomass, generating enough renewable electricity for four million households.

Bruce Heppenstall, Plant Director, said:

“We wanted to do something special to celebrate this major milestone in UK history and to thank Her Majesty for her 70 years of service to the country.

“Drax is approaching its own milestone – having generated electricity for millions of UK homes and businesses for almost 50 years. As our cooling towers are a major landmark that can be seen for miles around – we thought lighting up in honour of our Queen was a fitting tribute.”

The 114m tall cooling towers near Selby in North Yorkshire, will be lit up between 8:30pm until 4:30am every night from Wednesday 1st June to Sunday 5th June.


Media contacts:

Megan Hopgood
Communications Officer
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Notes to editors:

Drax illuminated one of its cooling towers in blue lights in 2020 in recognition of the work of the NHS during the pandemic, and also projected a poppy onto the cooling towers to raise money for the Royal British Legion on Armistice Day.

Most recently, the cooling towers have been lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag to show support and solidarity with the people affected by the recent conflict.

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

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 4Mt 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 17 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate capacity of 4.6Mt, which will increase to c.5Mt once developments are complete.

Drax is targeting 8Mt of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3Mt 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 mills supply around 30% of the biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.


Drax is the largest supplier of renewable electricity to UK businesses, supplying 100% renewable electricity as standard to more than 370,000 sites through Drax and Opus Energy.

It offers 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