Drax gave notice to the Planning Inspectorate in September about its intention to consult on the proposals, which are part of its strategy to play a vital role in changing the way energy is generated as the UK moves to a low carbon future.
The ongoing research and development project is exploring options including up to 3.6 gigawatts (GW) of new gas generation capacity and 200MW of battery storage in line with government plans to phase out coal by 2025.
The power station near Selby is already the UK’s largest single site renewable power generator having converted three coal generating units to use sustainable wood pellets. More than two thirds of the power produced is now renewable, providing 17% of the UK’s renewable electricity – enough for four million homes.
The upgrades would enhance Drax Power Station’s flexible and responsive capability, and make Yorkshire the home of large scale battery technology.
Andy Koss, CEO of Drax Power, said:
“We have always supported and worked with our local communities and want to ensure they have a role in shaping our thinking for the future. Drax Power Station is a national asset and a significant driver of economic growth in the North of England.
“These options could repurpose up to two of our coal assets and extend their operation into the 2030s, securing the future of the plant beyond 2025 when the government says coal must come off the system.
“We are undertaking a comprehensive programme of consultation over the coming months to share our ideas with the public and listen to their views.”
Public consultation events will give people the opportunity to find out more about the plans. Events will take place at:
Wednesday 8 November, 4pm to 8pm
Selby Town Hall, York St, Selby YO8 4AJ
Thursday 9 November, 11am to 4.30pm
Drax Sports and Social Club, The Blue Room, Main Rd, Drax, Selby YO8 8PJ
Saturday 11 November, 10.30am to 1.30pm
Junction, Paradise Place, Goole DN14 5DL
The options for repowering to gas and building battery storage complement Drax’s ongoing work to explore options for further generation from sustainable biomass.
Mr Koss added: “This is the start of the planning process but if developed these options for gas and battery storage show how we could upgrade our existing infrastructure to provide capacity, stability and essential grid services, as we do with biomass.
“This would continue to keep costs low for consumers and help to deliver the government’s commitment to remove coal from the UK grid.”
The project includes the following elements:
- Up to 3.6 GW of new gas generation capacity and up to 200MW of battery storage. The capacity of the coal units being replaced is 1.3GW.
- The gas generation plant will include up to four new combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs).
- A new gas pipeline connection to the National Gas Transmission System and an electrical connection into Drax’s existing substation to allow electricity to be exported to the National Grid.
- A temporary crane positioned next to the existing jetty on the River Ouse and at a point close to the power station during construction.
- Environmental assessments will consider issues such as local planning, air and water quality, flood risk, traffic and transport, noise, ecology, heritage and the effects on landscape and visual amenity.
Subject to development consent being granted and construction going ahead, the Drax Repower project (gas generating plants, battery storage and gas pipeline) could be operational in 2023/24.
Further information about the project, the consultation and planning application will be published here
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Head of News
Notes to editors
About the planning regime
The proposed development is a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) under “the construction or extension of a generating station” category in Part 3 Sections 14(1)(a) and 15(2) of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended). As such, Drax is required to seek planning permission known as a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Planning Inspectorate: an executive agency of the government that manages nationally significant infrastructure projects.
About Drax Group
Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used as the UK moves to a low carbon future. Drax operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby, North Yorkshire and supplies 7 percent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator. Drax is the biggest single site renewable generator in the UK and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. Its 2,300-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
The Group includes:
Drax Biomass, based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests.
Haven Power, based in Ipswich, providing businesses with electricity.
Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, providing electricity and gas to businesses.
For more information visit www.drax.com/uk