Drax workers’ blue light support for NHS

Employees at the UK’s largest power station will show their support and appreciation for the heroic efforts of those within the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis by turning one of Drax’s cooling towers blue at 8pm tonight, when the UK comes together to ‘Clap for Carers’.

Drax Power Station cooling tower turned blue for the NHS and #ClapForCarers with biomass storage domes on left

Engineers at Drax Power Station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, have installed blue lighting on one of the 12, 114m tall cooling towers at the 1,850-acre site, in honour of the NHS.

Michael Davies a section head in the maintenance team at Drax Power Station, who led a team of engineers from Drax, EMI and Yess Electrical to install the blue lights, said:

Michael Davies, Section Head, maintenance team, Drax Power Station, who led a team of engineers from Drax and EMI to install the blue lights

Michael Davies, Section Head, maintenance team, Drax Power Station, who led a team of engineers from Drax and EMI to install the blue lights

“We all know how vitally important the NHS is right now and we’re in awe of what the teams there are doing. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week these people are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect us and look after those worst affected by this disease.

“Lighting up one of our cooling towers is our signal to those working in the NHS to let them know we appreciate what they’re doing. We know they must be working incredibly hard in very difficult circumstances and we fully support them.”

Drax Power Station has the capacity to generate enough electricity for up to six million households. Measures have been put in place to ensure its employees can work safely and continue operating this critical national infrastructure.

Employees from across Drax’s UK businesses, including power stations located across Britain, as well as energy supply businesses Opus Energy and Haven Power, have shown their appreciation for the NHS in their own ‘Clap for Carers’ video too.

Drax Power Station cooling tower turned blue for the NHS and #ClapForCarers

Drax Power Station cooling tower turned blue for the NHS and #ClapForCarers

Picture captions:

  • Pics 1 and 2: Drax Power Station’s blue cooling tower lit up during a trial run last night (Wednesday April 15) ahead of its official switch-on during the ‘Clap for Carers’ at 8pm today (Thursday April 16, 2020).
  • Pic 3: Michael Davies, maintenance team section head at Drax Power Station, who led the work to install the blue lights.

Video Link: Footage of the cooling tower being lit up in ‘NHS blue’ from last night’s trial run is available if you would like to use it via the links provided here.


Media contacts:

Ali Lewis
Drax Group Head of Media & PR
E: [email protected]
T: 07712 670 888

Aidan Kerr
Drax Group Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: 07849 090 368

Editor’s Notes

Cooling tower facts:

  • Each of the 12 cooling towers at Drax are 114m tall and 93m in diameter at the base.
  • You could fit the Statue of Liberty inside each one.
  • The dimensions of the cooling towers are such that if they were scaled down to be the size of an egg, the thickness of the cooling tower walls would be the same as an eggshell – so whilst the walls could be viewed as being quite delicate, the hyperboloid shape of the cooling towers gives them strength to withstand harsh weather conditions. The ones at Drax date from almost 50 years ago when the first half of the power station was built and came into operation in 1974.
  • A common misconception is that the cooling towers release smoke – this is not true, it’s actually steam, or water vapour which can be seen rising from them.
  • Power stations use a lot of water. Drax’s 12 cooling towers draw 160 million litres of water each day from the River Ouse.
  • The power station works by using boilers to heat water and make high pressure steam, which is used to spin turbines and generate electricity. The steam is then cooled inside the cooling towers and the water is returned to the boiler to be heated again.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. 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 two thirds of 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.

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.  It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.


Drax owns two B2B energy supply businesses:

  • Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity and energy services to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
  • Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity, energy services and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.

Pellet production:

Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass 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