Drax Power Station has submitted an application to the Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for its Repower gas generation and battery storage project.
Plans to replace Drax’s two remaining coal generating units with up to 3.6 gigawatts (GW) of high efficiency gas-fired power generation and up to 200 megawatts (MW) of battery storage were first set out in September 2017.
Since then the company has been developing engineering and environmental reports for the application, as well as carrying out an extensive consultation programme with local people, landowners and councils.
The Planning Inspectorate has 28 days to determine if it will accept the application. If accepted, the proposals will be examined by the Planning Inspectorate and then considered by the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with a decision expected in 2019.
By upgrading its existing infrastructure to use gas Drax will be able to provide more capacity, stability and essential grid services keeping costs low and delivering the government’s commitment to end power generation with unabated coal by 2025.
Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO, said:
“With our gas Repower plans and the conversion of a fourth generating unit this summer to use biomass instead of coal, we intend to extend the life of the plant, protect jobs and deliver the flexible and reliable power millions of households and businesses need.
“Working with the communities local to the power station has been an integral part of the process. The Repower project could secure the future of the power station beyond 2025 when the government says coal must come off the system.”
Drax is already the UK’s largest single site renewable power generator having converted three coal generating units to use sustainable wood pellets, with the fourth set for this summer. More than two thirds of the power produced is now renewable, providing 15% of the UK’s renewable electricity – enough for four million homes.
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The planning process for the DCO is as follows:
- The Planning Inspectorate has 28 days to decide whether to accept Drax’s application for examination.
- If it is accepted for examination, Drax will notify local authorities, landowners and other statutory consultees and they will receive a copy of the accepted application documents.
- In addition, a notice will be published at or near the Repower site and in relevant newspapers to publicise the accepted application. This notice will provide information to local people on where they can review the application and how and when they can make representations to the Planning Inspectorate.
- Anyone who makes a representation can register to become an ‘Interested Party’ once the examination process starts.
- If the application is accepted, the Planning Inspectorate will appoint an independent inspector known as an ‘Examining Authority’ to oversee the examination of the application, a process that is likely to start in the autumn.
- A preliminary meeting with Interested Parties, Drax and the Examining Authority will be held to coincide with the start of the examination process. Interested parties will be given at least 21 days’ notice of the meeting. At this meeting, the Examining Authority will inform Drax and Interested Parties of the examination procedure and schedule going forward.
- The post-application and examination processes, including the formal notification of the accepted application and the consultation on the Application documents (undertaken in accordance with Section 56 of the Planning Act 2008), are defined by relevant regulations and the Planning Inspectorate.
Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used. 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 Power Ltd, which 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.
Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.
Drax Biomass, is based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests, supplying fuel used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
For more information visit www.drax.com/uk