Archives: Press Release

Oban engineering apprentice wins top prizes at Drax awards

Cruachan Power Station Dam

Iain MacPherson, age 19 from Oban, has won Craft Apprentice of the Year as well as the Paul Chambers Overall Apprentice of the Year Award after being commended for his enthusiasm and work ethic in his role at Cruachan Power Station. Iain received outstanding feedback from his colleagues who speak highly of his commitment, potential and ability and say that he has become a valuable member of the team at Cruachan.

Iain, who is now entering the third year of his apprenticeship, said:

“I’m extremely grateful to have received these awards and be recognised for the work I’ve put in over the past year. I’d like to thank everyone who has helped and supported me throughout. I’m looking forward to the next year of my apprenticeship and the new challenges it brings.”

Covid restrictions meant that this year’s awards event was held virtually, but none of the glamour and excitement was missing as apprentices from across the Drax Group were recognised for their efforts overcoming the unprecedented challenges that Covid-19 brought.

Karen McKeever, Drax Chief HR Officer, who hosted the event, said:

“Drax is committed to championing and supporting people in their early careers. Hiring and developing a talented workforce of the future is essential for an innovative business like Drax.

“Apprentices all have unique talents and bring a new perspective, that we can learn from. It’s been inspiring to meet them all and celebrate their achievements. The last couple of years have been challenging for us all due to Covid, but our apprentices have shown great flexibility, resilience and patience in continuing to approach their learning with enthusiasm and dedication.”

This year’s winners were:

  • Craft Apprentice of the Year (Year 1) – Callum O’Grady, age 22 from Gainsborough
  • Craft Apprentice of the Year (Year 1, Scotland) – Paul Firth, age 19 from Motherwell
  • Craft Apprentice of the Year (Year 2) – James Barratt, age 20 from Wakefield
  • Craft Apprentice of the Year (Year 2, Scotland) and the Paul Chambers Overall Apprentice of the Year – Iain MacPherson, age 19 from Oban
  • Craft Apprentice of the Year (Year 3) – Cameron Shipstone, age 21 from Hemingborough
  • Craft Apprentice of the Year (Year 4) – Ben Scott, age 21 from Brough
  • Business Apprentice of the Year – Ben Senior, age 22 from York
  • Uniper Engineering Academy Award – Declan Farmer, age 18 from Brough

Drax’s long-running apprenticeship scheme is part of its commitment to developing new talent as well as upskilling the workforce across the communities where it operates. Drax has 52 apprentices as well as 50 existing employees working towards apprenticeship qualifications at other career levels within the business.

The craft apprenticeship scheme gives new recruits the opportunity to gain skills and expertise by working alongside highly qualified engineers. It is a four-year programme, and specialises in three engineering disciplines: Mechanical, Electrical and Control & Instrumentation. In addition to engineering disciplines, Drax also offers apprenticeship qualifications in business support areas such as HR, cyber security and administration.

Drax recently launched the next stage in its public consultation on its exciting plans to more than double the generating capacity of its iconic ‘Hollow Mountain’ Cruachan Power Station in Argyll and Bute.

Under the plans, a second underground power station will be built adjacent to the existing one to enable Cruachan to play an even bigger role in supporting the expansion of renewable energy sources such as wind power and provide lifeline stability services to the national grid.

Around 900 jobs will be created and indirectly supported during the new power station’s construction, providing a huge boost to communities around Loch Awe and across Argyll.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Megan Hopgood
Communications Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 07936350175

Editor’s Notes

Drax has been running an apprenticeship scheme for almost two decades at its eponymous power station in North Yorkshire and also offers internships and graduate schemes as part of its dedication to improving skills and increasing opportunities for young people across the region.

Drax runs a number of other initiatives to support STEM education and skills, including:

Applications are now open for Drax’s next work experience for students in Y10-Y12 or S4-S6 in Scotland. For more details go to www.drax.com/uk/careers. The closing date is 16th January 2022.

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.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk

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 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.

Customers: 

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 www.energy.drax.com

Drax to invest £40M in next stage of the world’s largest carbon capture project

  • Drax has approved a further investment in the development of its Yorkshire carbon capture project that will see Worley commence work on the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) phase.
  • Contract is part of a 2022 capital investment programme of around £40m that includes site preparation works for BECCS and decommissioning of coal infrastructure following the end of Capacity Market obligations at the end of September 2022.
  • Announcement is another significant step towards making BECCS at Drax a reality by 2027 and follows the company’s decision to partner with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group as its technology partner, and ambition to source 80% of the construction materials from UK supply chain.

As part of this investment, Drax has selected Worley to begin the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) work at the start of 2022 and may also work with the company on the subsequent design and build phases of the BECCS project, subject to contract. Drax will also commence site preparation works for BECCS across its North Yorkshire power station including relocation and decommissioning work to make space for the project.

Worley, a global provider of professional project and asset services delivers engineering, procurement and construction, as well as consulting services for the energy, chemicals and resources sectors around the world.

BECCS is seen as an essential technology to tackle climate change with the project at Drax set to capture and permanently lock away at least eight million tonnes of CO2 a year, exceeding the government’s ambition to deliver 5Mt of negative emissions from engineered removals each year by 2030 as outlined in the recently published Net Zero Strategy.

Drax is already the largest decarbonisation project in Europe, having converted its power station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal, reducing its emissions by more than 90%. By deploying BECCS technology, Drax will create and protect tens of thousands of jobs across the North, kickstart new green industries, and make the UK a global leader in negative emissions technologies.

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner

Drax Group CEO, Will Gardiner

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said:

“Our investment in BECCS and the signing of this contract with Worley demonstrates Drax’s commitment to deliver a vital technology which is urgently needed to address the climate crisis. It’s no longer enough to reduce emissions – the world has got to start removing carbon from the atmosphere if we are to avert this climate crisis.

“The Government’s ambition for BECCS and its backing for the East Coast Cluster further demonstrates the vital role this negative emissions technology at Drax can play in helping the UK reach its net zero targets, as well as creating and protecting thousands of jobs and kickstarting a new green economy.”

Worley CEO, Chris Ashton

Chris Ashton, Worley CEO, said:

“As a global professional services company headquartered in Australia, we are pleased that Drax has engaged Worley in this important carbon capture project. Our partnership with Drax is one of the ways we’re helping our customers adapt existing assets and decarbonize industrial clusters, whilst also supporting Worley’s strategic focus on sustainability and delivering a more sustainable world.”

The announcement follows Drax’s decision in the Summer to partner with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group as its technology partner. As well as this the company outlined its ambition to source 80% of the construction materials and services from UK supply chain, meaning businesses could benefit from contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds, creating and protecting jobs across the North and levelling up the country.

With an effective negative emissions policy and investment framework from the government, BECCS could be deployed at Drax as soon as 2027 – delivering the UK’s largest carbon capture project and permanently removing millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

Drax has already kickstarted the planning process to deploy BECCS at its power station in North Yorkshire – if successful, work could get underway to build BECCS at Drax as soon as 2024, with the creation of thousands of jobs.

How BECCS at Drax will work. Click to view/download.

An accompanying RNS to the London Stock Exchange can be read here: https://www.londonstockexchange.com/news-article/DRX/investment-in-beccs-feed-study/15251148

ENDS

Media contacts:

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

Aidan Kerr
Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: 07849090368 

Editor’s Notes

  • As well as the FEED study, the investment programme will include site preparation works which are required prior to decommissioning some of the infrastructure associated with Drax’s coal operations, on the areas of the site where BECCS will be built.
  • Drax’s coal units are due to close in September 2022 and work to build BECCS could get underway as soon as 2024, with the creation of thousands of jobs.
  • Drax aims to deploy BECCS on two of its biomass generating units by 2030 capturing and permanently storing up to eight million tonnes of CO2 a year, more than the 5Mt the government has said will be required 2030 in its recently published Net Zero Strategy.
  • As part of the Net Zero Strategy, published on 19 October, the Government confirmed its ambition to see significant deployment of mature BECCS technologies by 2030.
  • BECCS at Drax can permanently remove at least eight million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, whilst supporting the creation of a new global industry in the UK, delivering tens of thousands of jobs in a new green economy. This builds on what we have already achieved with sustainable biomass, in transforming a coal fired power station to become Europe’s biggest decarbonisation project.
  • Subject to the right regulatory support, the first BECCS unit could be operational in 2027, with the second commissioned in 2030, enabling Drax to achieve its world-leading ambition to be a carbon negative company by 2030.
  • No final investment decision has yet been taken and development remains subject to the UK government introducing the right regulatory framework.
  • Drax would act as an anchor project for Zero Carbon Humber, part of the East Coast Cluster, protecting and creating tens of thousands of jobs, kickstarting a new green industry for the region.
  • The East Coast Cluster is made up of both Zero Carbon Humber and Net Zero Teesside, supported by the Northern Endurance Partnership – a collaboration between bp, Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total, with bp leading as operator.
  • Drax Power Station produces 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity, keeping the lights on for millions of homes and businesses.
  • Drax has reduced its emissions by more than 90% in the last decade and Drax is now one of Europe’s lowest carbon energy generators.
  • In the Summer of 2021 Drax selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as its technology partner to deliver BECCS at Drax using its Advanced KM CDR ProcessTM.
  • In September Drax announced its ambition to source 80% of the construction materials and services from the UK supply chain, meaning UK businesses could benefit from contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

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. For more information visit www.drax.com/uk

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 13 operational pellet plants with nameplate capacity of c.4Mt, plus a further two plants currently commissioning and other developments/expansions which will increase this to c.5Mt once 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.

Customers: 

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 www.energy.drax.com

Primary School students learn about renewable energy

The team led a series of presentations adapted to suit the different age groups in the school with sessions including virtual tours of Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire and Drax’s hydroelectricity facilities in Scotland and an activity lesson where the children replicated the water filtration process that takes place at the Drax Daldowie energy from waste facility.

The children also received a visit from one of Daldowie’s technical apprentices Danielle Nicholson who talked about her role at the fuel plant and what skills are needed, to show the children some of the career options available in the energy sector.

Lila-May, aged 9 said:

“I really enjoyed learning about how the water is filtered and used to make renewable energy and the quiz was really fun.”

Luke (Primary 2) and Charlie (Primary 1)

Colette Wright, Caledonia Primary School Principal Teacher, said:

“The children really enjoyed the workshop with Drax. Experiences like these are so important to get them excited about learning and bring the subject to life. The topic was particularly relevant with COP26 taking place just down the road too.”

The Drax Visitor Centre Team has been running virtual workshops in schools, colleges and universities local to the company’s operations ever since the start of the covid-19 pandemic to ensure that students didn’t miss out on the opportunities that the company would usually offer.

Boaz (Primary 1) and Maxwell (Primary 2)

Alan Knight, Drax Group Director of Sustainability said:

“We’re committed to supporting education in the communities local to our operations. I hope that sessions such as these will help pupils better understand how energy is generated and inspire an interest in STEM subjects.”

Drax runs a number of initiatives to support STEM education including a virtual work experience programme, a STEM box project and virtual tours of the power station.

Top image caption: Emma (Primary 5) and Hannah (Primary 4)

ENDS

Media contacts:

Megan Hopgood
Communications Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 07936 350 175

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.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk

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 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.

Customers: 

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 www.energy.drax.com

Scottish Net Zero Minister visits iconic ‘Hollow Mountain’ Cruachan Power Station

Cruachan is an underground pumped hydro storage power station built in a hollowed-out cavern 1km inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain. Constructed in 1965, its reversible turbines are still at the cutting edge of energy storage technology, enabling the plant to act like a giant water battery.

Its turbines pump water from Loch Awe to an upper reservoir on the mountainside to store excess power from the grid. The stored water is then released back through the turbines to generate power quickly and reliably when demand increases. This process helps stop wind farms being paid to turn off when they are generating excess power, helping Scotland to be greener whilst cutting household energy bills.

Enough wind power to supply a million homes went to waste in the UK in 2020 because there wasn’t enough capacity to ensure this excess renewable power was stored and made available when it was needed.

As part of the visit, Drax Group’s Head of Hydro, Mike Wynd, also outlined the company’s exciting work on plans to build a new second underground pumped hydro storage power station at the Cruachan complex.

Drax Group’s Head of Hydro, Mike Wynd, said:

“Cruachan plays a critical role in stabilising the electricity system, balancing supply and demand by storing excess power from the national grid. When Scotland’s wind turbines are generating more power than we need, Cruachan steps in to store the renewable electricity so it doesn’t go to waste.

“Drax has exciting plans to more than double Cruachan’s generating capacity, a project that will support new green jobs and help our homes and businesses go greener by bringing more renewable power onto the grid.”

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson MSP, said:

“It was fascinating to learn more about how important this unique power station is in supporting the Scottish energy system and the critical role it plays in keeping the power grid safe and stable.

“This kind of flexibility and resilience helps to support the growth of renewables, enabling further decarbonisation of the energy system as we strive for net zero carbon emissions in Scotland by 2045.”

Drax acquired Cruachan alongside the Galloway and Lanark hydro schemes in 2019, helping to make the company a leading provider of flexible, renewable power generation.

When all four of its generating units are operating at maximum capacity, the plant can supply enough flexible power for around 800,000 homes.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Aidan Kerr
Drax Group Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: 07849090368

Editor’s Notes

  • Pumped hydro storage power stations act like giant water batteries, storing excess energy when there is an oversupply of power and then releasing when the country needs it most.
  • This is especially useful in supporting wind and solar generation, storing excess renewable power to be used later instead of going to waste.
  • A recent report by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) highlighted the policy barriers to deploying long-duration energy storage and suggested ways to address these barriers such as through the introduction of an income floor.
  • Despite being a key supporting pillar for intermittent generation from wind and solar power, no new pumped storage plants have been built in Britain since 1984.
  • Drax has begun the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station at Cruachan which will more than double 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 final investment decision has yet been taken and development remains subject to the right regulatory framework with the UK government.

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 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.

Customers: 

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

Selby College and Drax secure funding to support the green workforce of the future

  • Selby College and Drax have secured more than £270,000 of funding from government to develop the UK’s first educational programmes in carbon capture, to enable the renewable energy company to develop a workforce fit for the future.
  • The training will equip Drax’s employees with knowledge, skills, and practical experience, to operate the vital climate saving negative emissions technology bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
  • The initiative between Drax and Selby College will help to protect jobs, plug the skills gap, and build a workforce with the vital skills needed in the transition to net zero – and builds on an existing £180,000, five-year partnership aimed at supporting education and skills.

The £272,000 grant, from the Department for Education’s Strategic Development Fund, will allow the College to develop a brand-new training course in carbon capture and storage technologies, supporting Drax’s plans to develop the vital negative emission technology BECCS at its power station near Selby.

The course will start next year and will equip both current and future Drax employees with the vital skills needed to operate this critical negative emissions technology, ensuring the region is at the forefront of the green industrial revolution.

The programme will also be available to other organisations and individuals interested in developing their knowledge and understanding about carbon capture and storage. The course is being designed as an introduction to the subject, with the aim of adding more modules and units over time.

Liz Ridley, Deputy Principal of Selby College, said:

“Selby College is committed to supporting businesses and industries to develop specific training programmes that support their current and future workforce development. Our ongoing partnership with Drax has enabled us to secure this funding to create tailored education plans that will equip its workforce and supply chain with the skills needed as we transition into a zero-emission future.”

Bruce Heppenstall Drax Plant Director, Lewis Marron, Drax 4th Year Apprentice, and Liz Ridley Deputy Principal at Selby College.

Bruce Heppenstall, Plant Director at Drax, said:

“It’s critical businesses like Drax have access to a skilled workforce, with the knowledge and expertise to operate negative emissions technologies that will be vital in enabling the UK to reach its legally binding net zero targets. Through our partnership with Selby College, we are able to futureproof our workforce, ensuring we are at the forefront of the green industrial revolution, creating and protecting thousands of jobs here in the North.

“Deploying BECCS at Drax will not only deliver for the environment, but it will also deliver for the economy. It could kickstart a whole new sector of the economy and be the catalyst for a post-covid economic recovery.”

Minister for Skills Alex Burghart said:

“It is fantastic to see Selby College working with Drax to offer people the skills they need to progress in green careers in their area.

“Offering people the chance to upskill in the latest in-demand technologies is vital to plug skills gaps in our economy, and ensure we have a workforce fit for the future.”

Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, said:

“Electricity generated by Drax using sustainable biomass is key to expanding the wider economy of Yorkshire and Humberside. The transition from coal to biomass demonstrated how businesses can transform and thrive as part of our new “net zero” economy.

To build on this leadership it is vital that businesses like Drax have the skilled workforce to operate the new green technologies and maintain their leading position. The ongoing partnership between Selby College and Drax will provide the essential facilities and courses for local people to develop their skills, and I look forward to seeing this partnership flourish and feed into the development of clean green industries across our region.”

Through its transition from using coal to sustainable biomass, Drax has safeguarded hundreds of jobs at its power station, as well as more than 6,600 across its supply chain in the North. It aims to go further by building BECCS, with the creation of more than ten thousand jobs at the project’s peak. Its first BECCS unit could be up and running in 2027, delivering the world’s biggest carbon capture project, permanently locking away millions of tonnes of CO2 each year.

The new CCS educational programme builds on a five-year, £180,000 partnership Drax announced with Selby College in 2020, which enabled the College to invest in ICT equipment to support remote learning, as well as state-of-the-art engineering equipment and a series of events on green energy.

ENDS 

Editor’s Notes

  • The Department for Education’s Strategic Development Fund (SDF) is a pilot programme which aims to respond to local priorities for skills and innovation. This includes supporting the development of courses that will provide the skills and education needed for future industries, particularly the use of new fuel technology, green energy, robotics, artificial intelligence and the latest electric vehicle maintenance.
  • As part of the SDF pilot programme, Selby College has received £272,000 in funding to develop and deliver courses which cater to local priorities for skills and innovation.
  • An Introduction to Carbon Capture and Storage’ is equivalent to a Level 4 standard programme, which aims to equip a range of employees, supply chain workers and College students with a basic knowledge of how BECCS works and the theory and practice behind the technology.
  • The module will be piloted with 50 learners between 1st January until 31st March 2022 and then rolled out to a further 80 companies and 450 learners from 1st April 2022 and 31st March 2024, subject to future funding.
  • To facilitate future delivery at scale and to 24/7 industries, 50% of the learning will be delivered via an online teaching platform, supplemented by remote research and assessment work and summatively assessed via a two-day practical workshop using the specialist modular rig purchased with SDF funds
  • Drax has a history of supporting education and skills in the communities local to its operations. In October last year they announced a five-year, £180,000 partnership with Selby College to deliver community education programmes, as well as support for retraining, to ensure students are developing the skills needed in innovative clean technologies which will help to drive a zero-carbon economy.
  • This year Drax continued its apprentice programme welcoming new apprentices to its power station, near Selby North Yorkshire.
  • Since the start of the Covid pandemic Drax has invested more than £750,000 in support for its customers and local communities during the Covid-19 crisis, including donating 1,200 laptops to 94 schools and colleges across the country, including 562 to schools across Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire.
  • Prior to the covid crisis, around 12,000 people visited Drax for educational tours each year, many of whom were students, visiting as part of Drax’s efforts to work with schools and colleges to promote Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects
  • To ensure school pupils didn’t miss out on these important tours and valuable experience of the world of work during the Covid-19 crisis, the company has created virtual tours for people to access online and has as well launching a virtual work experience programme, so students learn first-hand what it’s like to work in the power sector.
  • In December 2019 Drax announced its world-leading ambition to use BECCS to permanently remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces right across its operations – creating a negative carbon footprint for the company by 2030 and making a significant contribution towards the UK’s net zero target.
  • BECCS at Drax could underpin a Zero Carbon Humber whereby other industrial businesses in the region could tap into the same carbon transportation and storage infrastructure enabling the wider decarbonisation across the region.
  • Selby College is the largest education provider in the Selby District, with more than 3,000 students.
  • Selby College’s students have access to courses ranging from entry level up to degree courses in a range of subjects, including Art & Design, Business, Childhood Studies, Digital Technologies, Education, Engineering, Social Science and Sport.

Media contacts:

Selby media contact
Callie Sowerby
Public Relations, Media and Communications Officer at Selby College
[email protected]
01757 211048 

Drax Media Contact
Ben Wicks
Media Manager
[email protected]
07761 525662

Top image caption: (From L – R) Cameron Shipstone, Drax 4th Year Apprentice, Steve Butler Engineering Manager at Selby College, Liz Ridley Deputy Principal at Selby College, Bruce Heppenstall Drax Plant Director, Lewis Marron, Drax 4th Year Apprentice.

About Selby College

Selby College is a highly rated College in the heart of North Yorkshire, providing education and training opportunities for students aged 16 right up to 70+. Learners from all over Yorkshire and the Humber travel to Selby College because of its reputation for high-quality education.

Providing a wealth of courses and clear progression routes, Selby College offers A Levels, Vocational courses, Apprenticeships, Higher Education, Adult Learning and Professional Courses for Employers.

Established in 1984, the College today employs more than 200  teaching and support staff. Following a £35m investment in its state-of-the-art campus, Selby College boasts some of the most up-to-date facilities of any education provider in the area.

Selby College is also playing a leading role alongside other local institutions in the development of the Yorkshire & Humber Institute of Technology, which is one of twelve of its kind across the country designed to increase higher-level technical skills for employers. The College has also been selected by the Department of Education to deliver its brand-new T Level qualifications from September 2022, which are high-quality technical alternatives to A Levels.

For more information visit www.selby.ac.uk

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 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.

Customers: 

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

Drax employees donate £2500 to local charities

Drax's Kendoon Power Station, Galloway Hydro Scheme, Scotland

The donation to Whiteley’s Retreat in Alloway near Ayr, which offers holidays and short breaks to children suffering from terminal illnesses and Macmillan Cancer Support, was helped by the employees receiving a cash reward from Drax Group in recognition of their excellent safety record at work.

The teams donated the reward along with the proceeds from a clay pigeon shoot to the charities, with the total raised match funded by Drax.

Ian Kinnaird, Drax Group’s Scottish Assets & Generation Engineering Director, said:

“Health and safety is Drax’s number one priority and the teams at Galloway and Lanark have had an excellent safety record for 15 years across all of the sites within the hydro schemes. We wanted to acknowledge that with a reward.

“I’m really proud that the team used the reward to do something positive for the local community – continuing Drax’s long tradition of supporting the communities local to its operations.”

Gibb Wallace, Civil Team Leader at Drax’s Galloway and Lanark Hydros, organised the fundraising event. He said:

“Colleagues wanted to give back to local charities and get together after spending such a long-time social distancing and working from home due to covid restrictions. We thought an outdoor fundraising activity, such as a clay pigeon shoot would be a nice way to do some team building, whilst supporting charities close to the hearts of our team.

“The event coincided with us receiving the award for safe working, and everyone agreed we should donate the money to the charities. We hope it will make a difference and support the incredible work they do.”

Maxine Allen, Whiteley’s Retreat CEO, said:

“On behalf of the team at Whiteleys and the families we support, we would like to thank the staff at Drax, for their kind and generous donation to Whiteleys Retreat.

“What a great achievement and this kind donation will go towards Whiteleys continuing to be able to provide therapeutic short breaks and extended support for children, young people and their families with cancer and life altering illnesses in the UK.”

Drax is committed to supporting the communities local to its operations. It has invested more than £840,000 to support its customers and local communities since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Megan Hopgood
Communications Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 07936350175

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.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk

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 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.

Customers: 

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 www.energy.drax.com

Community events to discuss Drax’s Cruachan expansion

Cruachan helps support intermittent renewable power like wind and solar.

Under the plans, a second underground power station will be built adjacent to the existing one to enable Cruachan to play an even bigger role in supporting the expansion of renewable energy sources such as wind power and provide lifeline stability services to the national grid.

Around 900 jobs will be created and indirectly supported during the new power station’s construction, providing a huge boost to communities around Loch Awe and across Argyll.

Cruachan Power Station

Cruachan’s reversible turbines balance the power grid.

Local people will have the opportunity to learn more about the proposals during two consultation exhibitions when members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the planning process, design stages, works programme, construction and operation of the expansion to Cruachan:

  • Dalmally Community Centre: Tuesday 30th November, 1.30pm – 7.30pm
  • Taynuilt Village Hall: Wednesday 1st December, 1.30pm – 7.30pm

Steve Marshall, Drax’s Development Manager, said:

“We are keen to hear from as many people as possible over the two days, so we encourage anyone living locally who can attend the exhibitions to come along. Cruachan has created and supported jobs in Argyll for more than 50 years and through our exciting expansion plans we will ensure the station remains at the heart of the community, as well as Scotland’s energy system, for many decades to come.

“The recent COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow underlined the need to invest in renewables to decarbonise our economy. In 2020 enough wind power to supply a million homes went to waste in the UK because there wasn’t enough capacity to ensure this excess renewable power was stored and made available when it was needed. By expanding Cruachan we will help to stop that from happening, by ensuring more renewable power is available to Scotland’s homes and businesses, when they need it, reducing costs whilst helping the planet.”

A further exhibition will be held in early 2022 prior to submission of a Section 36 application to the Scottish Government for their consideration. The submission is expected to be made in spring, with a decision from the government expected to be received in 2023.

The project requires a new financial stability support mechanism from the UK government to secure private investment in long-duration storage sites such as Cruachan. If this is developed and the planning application is approved, then work to build the new capacity at Cruachan could get underway in 2024, with the facility operational in 2030.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Aidan Kerr
Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: 07849090368

Editor’s notes

  • Copies of the exhibition boards and other materials will also be available for viewing and download via the website at cruachanexpansion.comfrom 29th November or they can be viewed at Cruachan Visitor Centre from 2nd December.
  • The exhibitions in November/December follow a virtual consultation which took place in July.
  • Independent analysis by Lane, Clark and Peacock (LCP) found the UK curtailed 3.6TWh of wind power last year, enough renewable electricity to supply around a million homes.
  • A separate independent report by academics from Imperial College London recently found that just 4.5 GW of new pumped storage hydro could save up to £690m per year in energy system costs by 2050.
  • The Scottish Government has recognised the need for additional pumped storage within the recently published Draft National Planning Framework 4, and the benefits this could bring to Argyll and Scotland.
  • No investment decision has yet been taken by Drax and development remains subject to the right regulatory framework with the UK government.

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.

Customers:  

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