Archives: Press Release

Drax Group CEO responds to the NIC’s report on engineered greenhouse gas removals

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner in the control room at Drax Power Station

“The publication of the NIC’s report further demonstrates the significant role engineered greenhouse gas removal technologies like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and direct air capture and storage will play in enabling the UK reach its net zero target. However, urgent action is required within the next decade to support their roll out if the government is to meet its climate obligations.

“Deploying BECCS at Drax will not only save the UK billions of pounds over the next decade; as the government’s own analysis shows, it will be vital if the UK is to meet the targets set out in the fifth and sixth carbon budgets.

“It will also see the creation of a major new infrastructure sector in the UK which could rival the size of the UK’s water sector, creating, and protecting tens of thousands of jobs across the north, levelling up the UK and positioning us as a global leader in negative emissions technologies.”

Editor’s Notes

  • The NIC report is recommending that the government commits to deploying engineered removals at scale by 2030 and publish a plan to do so by no later than the end of 2022.
  • By 2030 engineered removals should be delivering between 5MtCO2 and 10MtCO2 of negative emissions per year.
  • By 2030 the engineered removals sector could be receiving revenues of approx. £2bn per year rising to £10s of bn by 2050.
  • The first BECCS unit at Drax could be operational by 2027 with the second by 2030.
  • The two units could capture up to 8Mt of CO2 per year. 80% of the amount the NIC states will be needed by 2030.
  • BECCS is the lowest cost engineered method to permanently capture and store carbon for hundreds of years.
  • BECCS at Drax will save the UK more than £13bn to meet the 5th Carbon Budget according to research from leading energy consultancy Baringa.

Drax cuts emissions by over 90% to become one of Europe’s lowest carbon power generators

Drax Power Station, North Yorkshire
  • Once the biggest coal fired power station in Western Europe, Drax has now slashed its CO2 emissions from power generation by over 90 percent since 2012, radically transforming the company and securing its place as one of Europe’s lowest carbon utilities.
  • Using sustainable biomass and hydro, in the first half of 2021 Drax became a purely renewable power generator, producing 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity – enough to power over 5 million homes and support the deployment of intermittent renewables such as wind and solar.
  • And by deploying bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) at the power station, Drax is set to go even further – generating the negative emissions needed to meet the UK’s net zero climate target while delivering jobs and clean growth in the North.

British renewable energy company Drax Group has cut the carbon emissions from its power generation by over 90 per cent in under a decade, becoming one of Europe’s lowest carbon intensity power generators and moving it closer to achieving its world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030.

Formerly the largest coal power station in Western Europe, Drax has this year ended commercial coal generation, sold its existing gas assets and transformed itself into one of the region’s primary decarbonisers – it is now a purely renewable power generator.

Drax has also made significant progress in the first half of 2021 with plans to deploy the world’s largest carbon capture project by fitting critical negative emissions technology BECCS at the power plant in North Yorkshire.

Deploying BECCS at Drax could enable the renewable energy company to make an even greater contribution to carbon reductions in the coming decade, while creating jobs and supporting the UK’s green transition.

Engineers walking in front of sustainable biomass wood pellet storage dome at Drax Power Station, June 2021

Engineers walking in front of sustainable biomass wood pellet storage dome at Drax Power Station, June 2021 [view/download for print or digital]

Drax Group CEO, Will Gardiner, said:

“Cutting Drax’s carbon emissions by more than 90% in under a decade is a unique achievement and is transformational – both for our business and the environment.

“Replacing fossil fuels with clean power from renewables like sustainable biomass and hydro has enabled the UK’s electricity system to decarbonise faster than any other major economy, but industry needs to go further than just reducing emissions — to permanently removing the CO2 in the atmosphere if the UK is to achieve its ambitious climate targets.

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner in the control room at Drax Power Station

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner in the control room at Drax Power Station [Click to view/download]

“By deploying BECCS, Drax will be leading the way in permanently removing millions of tonnes of CO2 while generating renewable power and supporting clean growth and thousands of jobs in the 2020s.

“BECCS is the only technology available now which can deliver the negative emissions the world needs to meet the climate commitments set out in Paris in 2015, whilst also generating the reliable renewable electricity the world needs.”

In the first half of the year Drax progressed its plans for BECCS – selecting Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) as its technology partner and kickstarting the planning process to develop BECCS at Drax this decade.

It also started to explore overseas opportunities for BECCS with Bechtel, including in North America, and next generation BECCS technologies with Phoenix BioPower, creating further potential opportunities for the UK to export a critical technology that will be needed around the world.

Subject to the right government support, the first BECCS unit at Drax Power Station could be operational in 2027 with a second in 2030, permanently removing at least 8 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.

It would be the world’s largest carbon capture power project, delivering a significant proportion of the negative emissions the UK needs to meet its climate targets.

Pinnacle's Lavington, British Columbia wood pellet plant

Pinnacle’s Lavington, British Columbia wood pellet plant [click to view/download]

In a pivotal six months for the company, Drax also secured additional biomass production capacity and reduced costs through the acquisition of Canadian biomass producer Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.

Drax is now the world’s leading integrated sustainable biomass generation and supply business, with access to global markets from Europe to the Far East.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Selina Williams
Media Manager
E[email protected]
T: 07912 230 393

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

Editor’s Notes

  • Graphs showing Drax carbon intensity per unit of electricity generated compared to other European power generators’ carbon intensity.
  • In 2012 Drax used around 10 million tonnes of coal a year to produce enough electricity to keep the lights on for around 6 million households.
  • In the first half of 2021, Drax Power Station generated 7.6TWh of renewable power from sustainable biomass, enough to supply over 5 million households.
  • Drax announced a good operational and financial performance in its H1 2021 results published today.
  • Drax sold its gas power stations to VPI in February 2021
  • Drax stopped using its coal units for commercial power generation in March 2021 and they will close completely in September 2022 when its existing capacity market agreements come to end.
  • The acquisition of Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc completed in April
  • Drax kickstarted the planning process to develop BECCS at Drax in March and announced MHI would be providing the technology required for BECCS at Drax in June
  • For international BECCS, Drax is working with Bechtel to explore options for new build projects globally while also studying more efficient next generation BECCS technologies with Phoenix BioPower.
  • A recent report from McKinsey for the Coalition for Negative Emissions showed that at least 1 Gigatonne a year of negative emissions from BECCS is needed globally by 2025 to keep global warming within the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Main photo caption: Drax Power Station, North Yorkshire [click to view/download for print or digital]

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.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk

Drax CEO responds to BEIS Smart Systems & Flexibility Plan

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]

ENDS

Media contacts

Aidan Kerr
Media Manager
E: [email protected]
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.

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 Group CEO responds to National Grid ESO’s Future Energy Scenarios 2021

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner in the control room at Drax Power Station

“The critical role that BECCS at Drax will play in decarbonising the economy and reaching net zero is made clear by the National Grid Future Energy Scenarios report. Drax stands ready to invest in this vital technology – with the right support from government we could be permanently removing eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by 2030 – playing a significant part in the UK’s efforts to address the climate crisis and keep the lights on, whilst creating jobs and clean growth.”

View the full report here

Schoolchildren rise to Drax’s recycled robot challenge

Children with robots

Primary school pupils have built their own robots from recycled materials as part of an initiative developed by Drax Power Station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, to boost STEM education and skills.

The Visitor Centre Team at Drax Power Station has worked with colleagues at Doncaster College and University Centre to develop the STEM box project, an engaging activity for students to take part in relating to the subject areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

A group of students aged between seven and ten at Sunnyfields Primary School in Scawthorpe, have been provided with individual activity boxes containing a range of learning materials, games and resources they will need to build their robots, the focus of which is on recycling and forms part of their school curriculum.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, many pupils have struggled to engage with home-schooling and projects like the STEM box provide a valuable opportunity to transition back into the school routine and get students enthusiastic about learning again.

The robots are made from recyclable materials that can be found around the house such as bottles, tin cans and cardboard and have been designed to carry out recycling tasks such as having magnetic hands to pick up metal, or built-in compartments to store paper.

Students also received a video recorded by the visitor centre guides to provide them with instructions. Once covid restrictions are relaxed, they intend to deliver this introduction in person in schools, as well as providing a visit to the power station as part of the project to help students understand the important role that recycling plays there.

Drax Group’s Head of Sustainable Business, Alan Knight, said:

“By providing schools with these resources we hope to further students’ understanding of the importance of recycling and hopefully fire up their imaginations and inspire them to study STEM subjects by showing them the wide range of career options that are available.”

Liane Clark from Children’s University at Doncaster College said, “Children’s University (CU) are excited to share this fantastic project with our CU schools to create an enriching learning experience that will inspire our future working generation. Our partnership with Drax has enabled a unique learning opportunity, which we hope will encourage children to deepen their knowledge and have a positive impact on their future.”

Children at Sunnyfields Primary School are the first to take part in the project which the Drax Power Station Visitor Centre Team plan to roll out to other schools across the region after the summer holidays.

Teacher Chloe Hoogwerf said:

“The students had a great time taking part in the STEM box programme, learning about Drax, and building the recycling robots. Activities like these are so important as it really brings the subject to life and gets students enthusiastic about STEM, as well as encouraging them to start thinking about careers they might enjoy in the future.”

Drax has a long tradition of supporting education and helping to inspire the next generation of engineers by encouraging interest in STEM subjects. Earlier this year, Drax announced its Mobilising a Million ambition which aims to increase social mobility and provide levelling up opportunities for a million people by 2025.

As well as the STEM box project, during the Covid pandemic Drax launched a virtual work experience programme, renewed its partnership with Selby College with a £180,000 contribution to support skills and training, and provided over 1,200 laptops with free internet access to school pupils across the country to ensure that students don’t miss out on valuable learning during the lockdown.

Pic caption: Sunnyfields Primary School Teacher Chloe Hoogwerf with Key Stage 2 pupils Oliver, Lilly and Lilly-Mae

ENDS

Media contacts:

Ben Wicks
Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: 07761525662

Megan Hopgood
Media and PR Intern
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.

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.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk

Drax launches £500 grants for education and skills charities in Scotland

Drax’s Charity Committee has a dedicated fund for supporting good causes local to its operations in Scotland, which include Cruachan Power Station, Daldowie Fuel Plant and the Lanark and Galloway Hydro Schemes.

It accepts funding requests that will have a positive impact on the local community by supporting the company’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education outreach work and improving skills and employability.

Last year, Drax provided a £636,000 support package for communities which included donating laptops to schools to support students with home schooling, free energy for small care homes and launched virtual tours and work experience programmes to keep STEM learning opportunities open during the pandemic.

Alan Knight, Group Director of Sustainability and Chair of the Charity Committee, said:

“Drax has a long history of supporting the communities local to its operations. It’s vital that businesses like Drax play their part in boosting education and employability so people are equipped with the relevant skills to support a green economy.

“We welcome applications from organisations which share Drax’s aims of boosting social mobility or improving the local area.”

Lochnell Primary School in Benderloch, Argyll, recently received support from the Drax Charity Committee. Headteacher Louise Chisholm said:

“We are grateful to Drax for its ongoing support for education and skills – it makes a real difference to the students’ experience which is so important – especially during the challenges of the last year. We’ve used the latest funding to further develop our children’s curiosity and skills in computing and science by purchasing Lego WeDo kits which allow the children to build and program their own projects.”

Charities and community organisations local to Drax’s operations which support STEM and education outreach, skills and employability, or which work to improve local communities, can apply for up to £500 per year from Drax.

Drax recently began the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station that will more than double the electricity generating capacity of the iconic ‘Hollow Mountain’ Cruachan facility. The project will support almost 900 jobs in rural areas across Scotland during construction and will provide critical storage capacity needed to support a net zero power system.

To request an application form, email [email protected] or fill out an enquiry form on the Drax website.

Main image caption: In April, Drax donated 60 laptops to schools across Scotland

ENDS

Media contacts:

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

Megan Hopgood
Media Intern
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.

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.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk

Progress Power prepares for development commencement

Work has started to prepare the Eye Airfield Site in Suffolk so that development of Progress Power – a rapid response power station, can get underway later this year.

The work is in accordance with the conditions of the Development Consent Order extension granted by the Secretary of State the State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 27 July 2020.

As part of the plans, work to erect a new perimeter fence around the site will begin on 28 July 2021 ahead of work to build the new power station, which will play an important role in supporting the electricity system as more wind and solar power come online.

Copies of the application, the Secretary of State’s decision and accompanying documents, plans and maps are available for inspection here.

You can also view the application and its accompanying documents, plans and maps via the Planning Inspectorate’s website: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/eastern/progress-power-station/?ipcsection=overview.

If you require a hard copy of the application and its accompanying documents, plans and maps, please contact Progress Power Limited at [email protected] or on 020 8392 8250.

ENDS

Media contacts:

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

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 2,900 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 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 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. 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.

Customers:

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

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