Drax CEO responds to BEIS Smart Systems & Flexibility Plan

Increasing Britain’s storage capacity is vital to decarbonising our economy and reaching net zero, says Will Gardiner

Reservoir above Cruachan Power Station

“This report by BEIS is an important first step towards removing barriers to building new, innovative long-duration storage projects in the UK. As made clear in the report, increasing Britain’s storage capacity is vital to decarbonising our economy and reaching net zero.

“We need to stop renewable power from going to waste by storing it, and Drax is progressing plans to build the UK’s first new pumped storage hydro power station in a generation at our Cruachan site. Our plans to expand Cruachan will unlock more renewable electricity to power homes and businesses across the country, and support hundreds of new jobs in rural Scotland.

“Drax looks forward to working with the Government and the wider energy industry to unlock the transformative potential of these technologies”

Drax CEO Will Gardiner on top of dam above Cruachan Power Station, Argyll and Bute

Drax CEO Will Gardiner on top of dam above Cruachan Power Station, Argyll and Bute [click to view/download]


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Aidan Kerr
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T: 07849090368

 Editor’s Notes

  • You can read the Smart Systems & Flexibility Plan here.
  • BEIS describe long duration storage as “essential for achieving net zero”.
  • Over the coming months the Government has committed to work with industry to “take actions to de-risk investment for large scale and long duration storage”.
  • BEIS has issued a call for evidence on removing barriers and will respond in early 2022.
  • Drax has begun the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station at Cruachan which will more than doubling the site’s electricity generating capacity.
  • The 600 megawatt (MW) power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1 gigawatt (GW).
  • No investment decision has yet been taken and development remains subject to the right regulatory framework with the UK Government.
  • Main image pic caption: Reservoir above Cruachan Power Station [click to view/download]

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.

Its 3,400 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.

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.

Pellet production and supply:

Drax owns and has interests in 17 pellet mills in the US South and Western Canada which have the capacity to manufacture 4.9 million tonnes of compressed wood pellets (biomass) a year. 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 20% 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.


Through its two B2B energy supply brands, Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax supplies energy to 250,000 businesses across Britain.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk