Archives: Press Release

Drax Power Station in Selby, North Yorkshire, welcomed Nigel Adams MP, for the official switch on of its fourth biomass generating unit.

The Selby MP joined Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner, Drax Power CEO Andy Koss and project manager Adam Nicholson to celebrate the power station moving closer to achieving its coal-free ambitions. Work got under way on the conversion as part of a planned maintenance programme in June, with Drax’s team of engineers completing the work required, on schedule, in just over two months.

Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO said:

“This is another major milestone in the transformation of the power station. It will extend the life of the plant, protecting jobs, whilst delivering cleaner, reliable power for millions of homes and businesses.”

Drax is already the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe, and the conversion of a fourth generating unit means it is on course to be off coal before the government’s 2025 deadline. Drax will now continue its work to replace its remaining two coal units with gas-fired power generating units.

Drax closer to coal-free future with fourth biomass unit conversion

Drax has switched on its fourth biomass generating unit – taking the power station in North Yorkshire a step closer to achieving its coal-free ambitions.

Work got under way on the conversion as part of a planned maintenance programme in June, with Drax’s team of engineers completing the work required, on schedule, in just over two months.

Having upgraded three of its coal units to use biomass, Drax is already the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe. The conversion of a fourth unit means it is on course to be off coal before the government’s 2025 deadline.

To convert the unit the project team has re-used some redundant infrastructure left from when the company was first co-firing biomass with coal on a large scale, around eight years ago.

A trial last year confirmed that by modifying the old co-firing fuel transportation system, compressed wood pellets can be delivered in the quantities required to fully convert the fourth generating unit.

Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO, said:

“This is another major milestone in the transformation of the power station. It will extend the life of the plant, protecting jobs, whilst delivering cleaner, reliable power for millions of homes and businesses.

“It is testament to the engineering expertise, skill and ingenuity we have at Drax. The team has developed some very innovative solutions for this upgrade, using all the knowledge we’ve gained throughout the work we have done so far to transform the business using sustainable biomass.”

The cost of conversion of the fourth generating unit is significantly below the level of previous conversions, at around £30 million.

Drax has already invested around £700 million in upgrading the first three units and associated supply chain infrastructure to use sustainable biomass instead of coal.

Nigel Adams MP for Selby said:

“I’m delighted to see Unit 4 in operation as a biomass unit, continuing the good work Drax is doing with its Beyond Coal strategy, protecting jobs and ensuring it continues to play a vital role in the Northern Powerhouse economy.”

The fourth unit will help the power station, at Selby in North Yorkshire, to deliver vital reliable and flexible power needed by the grid to maintain secure supplies as more renewables come online and the sector continues to decarbonise.

Drax will now continue its work to replace its remaining two coal units, with gas-fired power generating units. The Combined Cycle Gas Turbines it is looking to develop could deliver up to 3.6GW of capacity, as well as up to 200MW of battery storage.

Drax’s plans for the gas project have been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, which accepted the application for examination. The proposals will now be examined by the Planning Inspectorate and then considered by the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy with a decision expected in 2019.

In the UK there has been an 84 per cent reduction in coal-fired power generation in the last five years as low carbon generation has increased.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Ali Lewis
Drax Group Interim Head of Media & PR
E: [email protected]
T: 07712 670888

Jessica Gorton
Drax Group Press Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 020 3943 4305

Editor’s Notes

  • Drax welcomed the UK Government’s response to the consultation on cost control for further biomass conversions under the Renewable Obligation scheme, published in January.
  • It proposed that, rather than imposing a cap on Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) support for any future biomass unit conversions, a cap would be applied at the power station level across all units receiving ROCs.
  • This will protect existing converted generating units and limit the amount of incremental ROCs attributable to additional unit conversions to 125,000 per annum.
  • As a result, once the unit is converted this summer, Drax expects to optimise its power generation from biomass across its three ROC units under the cap, whilst supporting the Government’s objective of controlling costs under the Renewable Obligation scheme.
  • Drax also has a biomass generating unit which receives support under the Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme. This unit is unaffected by the government consultation on cost control for further biomass conversions under the RO scheme.
  • The fourth generating unit at Drax was switched on in 1986 when the second half of the power station known as ‘Drax B’ began generating power from coal. This was 12 years after the first half of the power station began generating power in 1974
  • Drax converted its first three coal units to use biomass between 2013 and 2016.
  • 65% of the electricity Drax produced in 2017 was renewable – enough to power four million households.
  • Drax signed up to the Powering Past Coal Alliance in April. The UK-Canadian initiative seeks to end the use of coal by 2030 in developed countries.
  • Drax is the most efficient power station in the UK’s coal fleet and Drax’s fourth unit would have been one of the last to close under the Government’s coal phase out plans. This means Drax is closing a coal unit nearly seven years earlier than anticipated.
  • In 2016 Drax supported more than 6,000 jobs in the Northern Powerhouse region, whilst generating £577m for the local economy.

About Drax

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 six 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

Drax could help keep the fizz in the drinks sector

But now the country’s biggest power station has met with the British Beer & Pub Association to see if it can keep the pep in the nation’s pints.

Drax, which owns Britain’s biggest power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, is about to begin a pilot trialling the first Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) project of its kind in Europe, which could make the renewable power generated at Drax carbon negative.

If successful the BECCS project could also help to secure future access to CO2 for the UK’s breweries and pubs.

During a six month trial, due to get underway in the next few months, a tonne of CO2 could be captured and stored each day from one of the power station’s biomass fuelled generating units.

That’s enough to produce the fizz for 32,000 pints of beer a day – equivalent to 5.7 million over the course of the six month project, which is more than enough to put the bubbles in a pint for everyone in Yorkshire.

If successful, the technology being trialled could be scaled up to capture even more CO2 at the power station – the largest single site renewable power generator in the country.

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said:

“We’re excited to be discussing our BECCS project with the BBPA. This pilot not only has the potential to ensure the UK meets its climate targets, but for the carbon captured to also help to keep the nation’s beer from going flat – and we’d certainly raise a glass to that.”

Brigid Simmonds, British Beer & Pub Association CEO, said:

“Beer is the nation’s favourite alcoholic beverage and on average pubs serve as much as 10 million pints of beer per day, so the recent shortfall of CO2 was most unwelcome. We hope that these discussions with Drax Group and the potential to increase access to a new source of CO2 in the UK will help ensure that a shortage does not happen again.”

Enabling other industries to use the CO2 produced from Drax’s renewable power generation, has the potential to allow businesses to use the carbon dioxide from a renewable source without contributing additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – making their processes carbon neutral.

ENDS 

Media contacts:

Ali Lewis
Drax Group Head of News
E: [email protected]
T: 07712 670888

Jessica Gorton
Drax Group Press Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 020 3943 4305

Drax announced its BECCS pilot in May. The carbon captured will be stored on site in compressed form with a view to working with partner organisations able to use the carbon to create further value in their own processes.

Editor’s notes

  • Drax is working with Leeds-based C-Capture which has developed the technology for the project.
  • Drax has invested £400,000 in the trial which could be the first of several pilot projects undertaken at the power station to deliver a rapid, lower cost demonstration of BECCS.
  • BECCS is vital to global efforts to combat climate change because the technology will mean the gases that cause global warning can be removed from the atmosphere at the same time as electricity is produced. This means power generation would no longer contribute to climate change, but would start to reduce the carbon accumulating in the atmosphere.
  • A report by the Energy Technology Institute in 2016 has suggested that by the 2050s BECCS could deliver roughly 55 million tonnes of net negative emissions a year in the UK – approximately half the nation’s emissions target.

About Drax

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 six 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

Drax signs £40 million contract with Siemens for turbine upgrades

Drax Power, which operates the biggest power station in the UK, has signed a new £40 million contract with Siemens for the upgrade of turbines on three of its biomass units over the next three years.

The upgrades will deliver efficiencies, as well as maintenance savings, which will cut the cost of biomass electricity production at the plant in North Yorkshire.

The work, which starts in 2019, will take three years to complete, with one biomass unit being upgraded each year as part of its planned major overhaul. The efficiencies will be gained by fitting new, high tech pipework and valves, with new high efficiency blading and long life seals within the turbines on biomass units 1, 2 and 3.

Since transforming half of the power station to run on compressed wood pellets instead of coal it has become Europe’s biggest decarbonisation project – and the UK’s largest single site renewable power generator.

Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO, said:

“We firmly believe that biomass has a long-term role to play in the UK’s energy infrastructure. We’re looking at a number of ways to bring down the costs of our biomass generation – and these turbine upgrades are an important part of that work.

“Reducing the costs of our biomass operations will help to preserve the life of the plant and protect jobs, whilst we continue to produce the flexible, renewable power millions of homes and businesses rely on.”

Darren Davidson, Managing Director, Power Generation Services, Power and Gas, Siemens added:

“Siemens and Drax have a long-standing and proud partnership so it’s fantastic that we will now help them further develop their biomass solution. Once delivered this project will improve plant efficiency and flexibility and provide a further source of low carbon power to UK homes, businesses and services.”

Drax has upgraded three of its coal units to run on biomass with a fourth unit currently being converted – due to return to service later in the summer. It also plans to repower its remaining two coal units to use gas and develop up to 200MW of battery storage.

The cost of the upgrades are within Drax’s existing plans with payment upon completion of the works.

ENDS

Pic caption: Image of a generator core from inside the Siemens factory ‘white room’ that has been installed inside the turbine hall at Drax Power Station.

Media contact

Ali Lewis
Drax Group Head of News
E: [email protected]
T: 07712 670888

Jessica Gorton
Drax Group Press Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 020 3943 4305 

Editor’s Notes

  • Drax produces 11.5% of the UK’s renewable electricity – enough for four million households.
  • Its Repower project was recently accepted for examination by the Planning inspectorate with a decision expected from the Secretary of State for BEIS next year in the autumn.
  • Drax recently announced it is to pilot first Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) project of its kind in Europe – which has the potential to enable the plant to become carbon negative.
  • Drax Group contributed almost £1.7 billion towards UK GDP in 2016 and supported over 18,500 jobs across the country.
  • Drax Power Station makes a significant socio-economic impact contributing more than £0.5 billion to the economy and supporting more than 6,000 jobs across the Northern Powerhouse region.
  • Drax’s biomass generating units deliver carbon savings of 80% compared to when they used coal.

About Drax

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 6 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

Heatwave electricity demand surges as we battle to keep cool

Soaring temperatures have seen Great Britain’s electricity demand spike as we crank up the air conditioning and turn up our freezers – with demand increasing by almost 900MW. The increased demand is the equivalent of an extra 2.5 million households, or an area the size of the whole of Scotland, new data from Drax Electric Insights reveals.

Demand for electricity rises 350MW for every degree the temperature rises above 20°C. With temperatures peaking at 36°C, the electricity system has really been feeling the heat.

Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London, who compiles the Electric Insights reports, said:

“As the temperature rises, we use more cooling technology – that’s everything from office air conditioning, to fans, all of which use electricity. Places like supermarkets, with their large freezer sections, are some of the biggest energy users – as the temperature hots up, everything has to work that bit harder to keep cool.

“Global demand for cooling technology is only going to increase as temperatures, and global income, rise. More people will be willing and able to invest in the technology, which will add greater stress to the system during the summer months. That being said, it’s still far easier to manage this demand in the summer, as with hot weather comes plenty of solar power.

“Thankfully, we’re able to provide electricity for cooling that’s relatively low in carbon thanks to this solar technology – it’s still the winter months that are the most carbon intensive as we need to ramp up gas and coal generation.”

The increased summer demand is only expected to grow with National Grid predicting that the peak load from air conditioners will triple in the coming decade.

Andy Koss, CEO of Drax Power, said:

“It’s no surprise that the recent heatwave has equated to a surge in demand. The summer months are much greener in terms of electricity production thanks to the country’s reliance on renewables, but the challenge of balancing the system is very real.

“When there is increased solar and wind generation, our biomass units not only work to meet the demand caused by the greater need for cooling but also to balance the system and provide support services to the Grid.”

Drax has upgraded half of its power station in North Yorkshire from coal to use sustainable biomass, and is in the process of converting a fourth. It is now the biggest single site renewable generator in the country and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Explore this data live on the Electric Insights website: https://electricinsights.co.uk/

ENDS

Media contacts

Jessica Gorton
Drax Group Press Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 07712 677177

About Electric Insights

  • Electric Insights Quarterly was commissioned by Drax and is delivered independently by a team of academics from Imperial College London, facilitated by the College’s consultancy company – Imperial Consultants. The report analyses raw data that are made publicly available by National Grid and Elexon, which run the electricity and balancing market respectively. Released four times a year, it will focus on supply and demand, prices, emissions, the performance of the various generation technologies and the network that connects them.
  • Along with Dr Iain Staffell, the team from Imperial included Professors Richard Green and Tim Green, experts in energy economics and electrical engineering, and Dr Rob Gross who contributed expertise in energy policy. The work to date has revealed scope for further research in this area, to inform both government and organisations within the energy industry.
  • The quarterly reports are backed by an interactive website electricinsights.co.uk which provides live data from 2009 until the present.
  • Read Dr Iain Staffell’s heatwave article.

About Drax

Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used for a better future. 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 seven per cent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fueled 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

Last spaces available for summer activity programme

Starting on Tuesday July 24 throughout the summer holidays, open tours of Drax Power Station are running alongside fun educational activities.

Activities include building a working electromagnetic train, using chemistry to explore the science of bubbles, taking on an engineering building challenge and using STEM learning to create the tallest structures possible.

Open tours of Drax Power Station are running throughout the summer too, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the UK’s largest power station as they marvel as its sheer size and learn how renewable energy is produced.

Community Engagement and Visitor Centre Manager Jane Breach said: “Our summer activities programme is proving as popular as ever. We are booking up fast but there are still a few spaces left in August.

“The team has worked really hard to put together a fun, interesting and exciting educational programme that supports our commitment to STEM learning. I’d encourage anyone interested to get in touch with the visitor centre team to secure their place while there’s still availability.”

The summer activity programme includes a range of fun educational activities well as open tours every week on the following dates – 25th July 1st August, 7th August, 17th August, 22nd August and 29th August. Open tours run 10am to 12 noon and 1pm to 3pm.

For details of the activities and book your spot, visit our Eventbrite page.

For details of open tours email [email protected].

ENDS

Media contacts

Jessica Gorton
Drax Group Press Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 07712677177

Ali Lewis
Drax Group Head of Media Relations
E: [email protected]
T: 07712670888

About Drax

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. 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, provides businesses with electricity.

Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity and gas to businesses.

Drax Biomass, is based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk

 

Application for Development Consent Order submitted to the Planning Inspectorate

Millbrook Power Ltd (MPL, a subsidiary business of Drax Group) has today submitted its application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate. Upon receipt of MPL’s application, the Planning Inspectorate has 28 days to decide whether to accept it for examination.

If the application is accepted for examination, MPL will formally notify Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council, the local parish councils in the near vicinity of the site at Rookery South Pit, local landowners and other statutory consultees. These stakeholders will receive a copy of the accepted application documents.

In addition, a notice will be published at or near the site and in local newspapers to publicise the accepted application and to 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.

Assuming the MPL application is accepted, we could expect the Examination process to start in February/March of next year (2018).

A ‘preliminary meeting’ with Interested Parties, MPL and the Examining Authority will be held to coincide with the start of the Examination process. This meeting will be held locally and interested parties will be given at least 21 days’ notice of the meeting. At this meeting, the Examining Authority will inform MPL and Interested Parties of the examination procedure and schedule.

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.

Application for Development Consent Order accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate

Artist's impression of Drax Power Station CCGT

Drax Power Ltd has been notified by the Planning Inspectorate that its application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) has been accepted for examination. The application is for development consent to repower up to two existing coal-fired generating units (Units 5 and 6) at the power station with new gas turbines as well as battery storage and associated development.

The application for the Drax Repower project was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 29th May 2018, after extensive engineering and environmental assessments and consultation with local councils, local people, landowners and other interested parties.

A copy of the application form and its accompanying documents, plans and maps (including the draft DCO and the Environmental Statement) are available until Wednesday, 29th August for inspection free of charge at the following places:

  • Selby District Council – Civic Centre, Doncaster Road, Selby YO8 9FT
  • North Yorkshire County Council – County Hall, Northallerton DL7 8AD
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council – Customer Service Centre, Cross Street, Beverley HU17 9BA
  • Snaith Library – 27 Market Place, Snaith DN14 9HE
  • Goole Library – Carlisle Street, Goole DN14 5DS

If visiting North Yorkshire County Council, please ask at the reception to view the application documents.

The suite of documents is also available to view online through the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

Officers at Selby District Council, North Yorkshire County Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council are aware of the Inspectorate’s acceptance of the project for examination. Local parish councils, landowners and other prescribed consultees will shortly receive formal notification of the acceptance.

In addition, an official notice (Section 56 Notice) has been published today in The Times, the London Gazette and the Yorkshire Post and will be displayed in the local area.

Organisations and/or individuals who wish to register a representation and interest in the examination process can do so via the Planning Inspectorate’s website, giving notice of any interest in, or objection to, the application. The examination is likely to start in the autumn (the details and dates of the examination process have yet to be confirmed).

Representations or responses must be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 11.59pm on Wednesday, 29th August 2018. All representations will be made public by the Planning Inspectorate.

The independent examination of the Drax Repower project is expected to last a number of months, after which it will be considered by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Drax responds to CCUS Cost Challenge Task Force Report

“The Cost Challenge Task Force Report rightly identifies the important role bioenergy and CCS could play in a future low carbon energy grid. In addition to providing flexible low carbon electricity to complement wind and solar, bioenergy and CCS can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to tackle climate change and realise the UK’s vision of being a net zero economy by 2050.”