Archives: Press Release

Drax acquires Abergelli Power

The purchase of Abergelli Power and three other OCGT developments in England and Wales was announced today as Drax, the FTSE-250 company based in Selby, North Yorkshire, revealed its new purpose and strategy.

Abergelli will be entered into future capacity market auctions once planning permission has been awarded.

Find out more about Drax Group, helping to change the way energy is generated, supplied and used for a better future.

Drax acquires Progress Power

The purchase of Progress Power and three other OCGT developments in England and Wales was announced today as Drax, the FTSE-250 company based in Selby, North Yorkshire, revealed its new purpose and strategy.

Progress Power, which adds to the diversification of Drax’s generation mix, will be entered into future capacity market auctions to secure a 15 year contract. Once a contract is secured, construction will begin.

Find out more about Drax Group, helping to change the way energy is generated, supplied and used for a better future.

6 December 2016 – Drax acquires Hirwaun Power

Drax Group plc has acquired four Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) development projects.

The purchase of Hirwaun Power and three other OCGT developments in England and Wales was announced today as Drax, the FTSE-250 company based in Selby, North Yorkshire, revealed its new purpose and strategy.

Hirwaun Power, which adds to the diversification of Drax’s generation mix, will be entered into future capacity market auctions to secure a 15 year contract. Once a contract is secured, construction will begin.

Read the announcement.

Find out more about Drax Group, helping to change the way energy is generated, supplied and used for a better future.

Drax Group Chief Executive: Our plans to build flexible power stations

Where it was once an industry dominated by coal, a predictable but dirty fuel, now our power increasingly comes from renewables. This is a trend that will continue, forcing more coal off the system.

Drax has a role in this new future of renewable power. We have already converted half of our power station in North Yorkshire to run on renewable biomass, and now, to support the needs of a system increasingly dominated by intermittent renewables like solar and wind, we are developing plans to build four new state-of-the-art flexible power stations – including Millbrook Power in Bedfordshire.

Read the article by Drax Group CEO Dorothy Thompson.

Drax acquires Millbrook Power

The purchase of Millbrook Power and three other OCGT developments in England and Wales was announced today as Drax, the FTSE-250 company based in Selby, North Yorkshire, revealed its new purpose and strategy.

Millbrook will be entered into future capacity market auctions once planning permission has been awarded.

Find out more about Drax Group, helping to change the way energy is generated, supplied and used for a better future.

Drax opens apprenticeship opportunity for 2017

Drax Power begins its latest search for future engineers next week (Monday 5th December).

The company, which operates the UK’s largest power station – and now the country’s biggest single site renewable power generator – is looking to recruit a further six apprentices to join its training programme beginning in 2017.

The places are available in three engineering disciplines: Mechanical, Electrical and Control & Instrumentation. Applications will open online at the Drax website from Monday 5th December.

Students must have or be predicted to achieve GCSEs at grade C or above in Maths, English and Science and have two additional GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) in any other subject to apply.

Andy Koss, chief executive at Drax said: “We are delighted to announce further expansion of our apprenticeship programme. This is designed to help equip young people with the engineering skills they’ll need to succeed in modern industry and is an opportunity to join a company at the forefront of innovation and technology in power generation.”

He added: “The country’s energy system is changing dramatically as we move to cleaner, low carbon electricity to tackle the challenge of climate change. Drax has made a significant contribution to the UK’s renewable technology mix with our upgrades to biomass.

“Our apprentices develop their skills and knowledge in a world-leading technological environment where we have achieved carbon savings of over 80% compared to coal and are now the largest carbon saving project in Europe.”

This intake of apprentices will join the programme in August next year, bringing the total currently training at Drax to 19.

The four year Drax Apprenticeship Scheme is managed by the Apprenticeship Employment Agency (AEA) for the first two years, with apprentices spending most of the first year at the Uniper Engineering Academy, an industry training centre near Nottingham. The second year is split between Drax and the academy with years three and four spent entirely at Drax.

Apprentices qualify with either a BTEC National Diploma in Engineering or NVQ 3 Diploma in Electrical Power Engineering – Power Plant Maintenance.

Andy added: “Our apprenticeship scheme has many success stories, with former Drax apprentices having progressed to become technicians and supervisors.

“At Drax Power Station today, we have engineers, sections heads and department managers that have all come from an apprenticeship background. We look forward to welcoming and working with more young people keen to develop their career at Drax.”

More than 50% of Britain’s electricity now low carbon according to ground-breaking new report

  • Low-carbon sources of energy – such as nuclear, hydro, biomass, wind and solar – now contribute twice as much electricity than they did in 2010 (20%)
  • Carbon emissions from electricity consumption are at a record low – down a third over a 12-month period and 56% over four years
  • Britain now has 26GW of wind and solar installed – a six-fold increase over the last six years, while biomass has increased from nothing to 2GW of generating capacity
  • Carbon Price Floor plays a big role in reducing coal’s contribution which was just 3% of the UK’s electricity last quarter – down from 38% during the same period in 2012

Last quarter, for the first time ever, more than half (50.2%) of Britain’s electricity was produced from low-carbon energy sources, according to a new quarterly research report released today, authored by researchers from Imperial College London in collaboration with Drax.

Between July and September 2016, the contribution of nuclear, biomass, hydro, wind, solar and low-carbon electricity imports from France peaked at 50.2%, up from just 20% in 2010 – demonstrating the scale and impact of Britain’s renewable energy revolution over the last six years, and the unprecedented changes taking place in the UK energy sector.

Launched today, the Drax Electric Insights Report is designed to shed light on the dramatic impact of these changes, which include the Government’s commitment to shift away from coal by 2025, obligations to decarbonise, policy levers including the Carbon Price Floor, commitments to new nuclear, and prices reaching new highs and new lows.

Using consolidated data produced by National Grid and Elexon, who run the electricity network and balancing market respectively, it will focus, quarter by quarter, on data charting supply and demand, prices, emissions, the performance of the various generation technologies and the networks that connect them – providing new empirical evidence to contribute to the UK energy debate.

According to this quarter’s report, nuclear energy provided the largest share of low-carbon energy over the last three months, generating over a quarter of the UK’s electricity (26%), followed by on-shore and off-shore wind (10%), solar (5%), biomass (4%), low-carbon energy imports from France (4%) and hydro (1%).The data also revealed that Britain now has 26GW of solar and wind installed, a six-fold increase since 2010, while biomass has increased from nothing to 2GW of power generation over the same period.

Crucially, the findings also reveal the sharp decline in coal which has been largely due to the increases to the Carbon Price Floor which took effect last year.  Just 3% of Britain’s electricity last quarter was generated from this fossil fuel – down from over a third (38%) during the same period in 2012 – placing it below wind, solar and biomass in the UK energy generation league tables for the very first time. In fact, for almost six full days last quarter, the UK was completely coal free – the first instance Britain burnt no coal to produce its electricity since 1881.

As the report points out, a quarter of Britain’s coal stations have shut down over the last 12-months. In the last quarter alone, coal utilisation fell to its lowest ever levels – with plants producing just 7% of their maximum capacity – less than half the productivity of Britain’s solar panels over the quarter.

According to the research, this move away from dispatchable fossil fuels, like coal, towards weather dependent renewable, while slashing emissions, is also forcing the UK power system into new challenging territories. Last quarter, at its minimum only 4.7 GW of electricity was generated from flexible dispatchable power plants, meaning they had less “breathing space” for times of low demand and high renewables output. In contrast, prior to 2013, this minimum level had never previously fallen beneath 10GW.

The report also found that volatile power prices are likely to be the new normal in the UK, with last quarter witnessing the highest energy prices for several years and an all-time low. Zero or negative power prices – when high inflexible power generation meets low demand – occurred 45 times over the last quarter, twice as many as during the whole of 2015 combined. At the same time, this quarter also saw the highest peak energy price for three years, on Thursday 15th September, when prices reached £802/MWh.

Drax Power CEO, Andy Koss, said:

“This report shows Britain’s energy system is changing dramatically and we are seeing real benefits. Cleaner energy has reached a record high, and carbon emissions from electricity hit a record low. We can also see the crucial role that policy levers like the Carbon Price Floor play.

“But there is more to do to make Britain truly low carbon.  Additional reliable, affordable, clean energy is needed on the system, along with a focus of getting the balance right. More intermittent renewables like wind and solar are crucial but they will require more flexible back up, like biomass, to provide homes and business with electricity on demand.”

Dr Iain Staffell, of Imperial’s Centre for Environmental Policy, said:

“You cannot manage what you cannot measure.  Although there is a huge amount of data available on our electricity system, before now there was no way to put it all together to see the big picture of what is happening, and more importantly why.

“My work with Drax provided an opportunity to apply my research to cut through the noise and understand Britain’s electricity is changing for the better.  We are so used to bad-news stories about the environment, so it is good to see that for once concrete progress is being made.”

The first edition of the report also found that:

  • Carbon emissions from electricity consumption are at a record low – down a third over a 12-month period and 56% over four years – thanks to the rise of clean energy and the switch from coal to gas
  • Three quarters (76%) of the UK’s electricity consumption emissions are now produced from burning gas, with 14% from produced burning coal – a role reversal from 2012, when coal accounted for 76% and gas 22% of these emissions respectively.
  • The last 12 months saw 3.2 GW of new wind and solar farms come online – while a quarter of the country’s coal capacity came off grid

Electric Insights will be published once a quarter, and is supported by an interactive website – www.ElectricInsights.co.uk – which provides live data from 2009 until the present. The data sources and methodology used in Electric Insights are listed in full on the website.

Commissioned by Drax Group, owner and operator of one of the UK’s largest power stations and Europe’s biggest biomass-fuelled power plant, the report will be delivered independently by a team of academics from Imperial College London, facilitated by the College’s consultancy company – Imperial Consultants.

The full report can be read here.

ENDS

Contact

Jenny Davies
Drax
07912 271 236
[email protected]

Paul Hodgson
Drax
01757 612 026
[email protected]

Lynda Stamford
Imperial Consultants
020 7594 2069
[email protected]

Notes to Editors

  • 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, who 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. It was designed by The Economist Group’s independent data design agency, Signal | Noise.

About Drax

Drax Group plc is an innovative energy company that owns and operates the UK’s largest power station in Selby, North Yorkshire, typically providing some 8% of the UK’s electricity. A vital strategic asset, the Group has transformed itself into a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator through its use of innovative technology and sustainably sourced wood pellets. The largest decarbonisation project in Europe is underway to provide the UK with cost effective, low carbon, and reliable renewable power.

The Group employs around 1,400 people and also includes:

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

Haven Power, the Group’s retail arm, providing business electricity contracts that are simple, flexible and designed to customers specific requirements.

Billington Bioenergy, is one of the leading distributors of wood pellets for sustainable heating in the UK.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk

About Imperial Consultants

  • Imperial Consultants provide access to over 4,000 research-active expert academics and Imperial College London’s state of the art facilities to deliver innovative solutions to meet the business needs of industry, government and the third sector.
  • Founded in 1990, Imperial Consultants is the wholly owned consultancy company of Imperial College London. It was set up to help deliver the Colleges vision “A world where the direct application of Imperial’s expertise to solve major challenges for the benefit of society and industry is the global standard.”
  • One of the largest university owned consultancy companies in the UK, Imperial Consultants deliver around 600 projects for 500 clients each year. Clients range from SMEs to global corporations and include AstraZeneca, BAE Systems, BP, Caterpillar, DEFRA, EDF Energy, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and Unilever.
  • In the last 5 years, 40% of our projects have been delivered outside the UK, in over 70 countries.
  • For more information visit imperial-consultants.co.uk

Drax generates £1.2bn and over 14,000 jobs for the economy says new report from Oxford Economics

Energy business Drax contributed more than £1 billion towards UK GDP in 2015 and supported thousands of jobs across the country. The findings were revealed in a new report looking at the Group’s UK operations, which includes Drax Power Station – Europe’s largest decarbonisation project.

Researchers at Oxford Economics studied the impact of Drax Group on the UK’s economy as the company nears completion of a major high tech engineering and infrastructure project to upgrade half the generating units at Drax Power Station near Selby in North Yorkshire to use sustainable biomass in place of coal. With the right support from Government, Drax aims to upgrade the remainder of the Power Station.

Their report estimates that the Group’s UK activities and that of companies in its supply chain last year contributed £1.2 billion to the economy and supported 14,150 jobs.

Employment covered a wide range of sectors including high-skilled manufacturing of industrial components, engineering and technical machinery, construction, IT, professional business services and transport.

This combination of activity and employment also generated tax revenues for the UK estimated at £430 million, equivalent to the salaries of almost 16,500 nurses or 12,900 teachers.

Oxford Economics used three measures to calculate Drax Group’s GDP contribution: the direct activities of the Group and its contractors, activity and employment in the supply chain of the Group and its contractors, and spending by all employees involved.

A breakdown of the GDP generated by Drax Group shows all regions of the UK benefited.

Highlights include:

  • £493 million created in Drax’s heartland of Yorkshire and the Humber.
  • 1,100 jobs for the North East and £82m contributed to the local economy.
  • £191 million generated in the East of England, where the group’s retail arm Haven Power is based.
  • 1,700 jobs supported in Scotland and £120 million generated in its economy.
  • 550 jobs sustained and £42 million contributed to GDP in the South West.

The report also analysed the economic impact of upgrading Drax to use compressed wood pellets instead of coal. It reveals this project has thus far generated £710 million in GDP throughout the UK economy, and supported 11,400 jobs, half of these in construction, manufacturing and transport.

Drax Group CEO, Dorothy Thompson, said:

“This report shows Drax is supporting more than 14,000 jobs across the UK, with the vast majority resulting from our upgrades to biomass technology.

“The economic benefit has reached all parts of the country. We have been the catalyst for rejuvenation and growth across the Northern Powerhouse with port expansion on the coasts of East Yorkshire, the North West and North East.

“Drax is now the UK’s biggest single generator of renewable power. With the right support from Government we aim to upgrade more of our electricity production to using compressed wood pellets. This would provide a further boost to the UK economy, and deliver increased carbon savings.”

Sam Moore, managing director of consultancy at Oxford Economics, said:

“Drax Group makes an important economic contribution to Yorkshire and the Humber, and the UK more widely. Its activities generated over £1 billion in GDP last year, and sustained thousands of jobs across the nation.

“In addition, ambitious investments by the group and its partners in regional biomass infrastructure have driven huge demand, and supported many more thousands of jobs.

“The Drax upgrades to use biomass in place of coal are also environmentally and strategically very significant, in the context of the wider challenges for the UK’s energy system.”

ENDS

Full details of the study can be found at draximpact.co.uk

Media contacts:

Jennifer Davies
Press Officer
Drax
01757 612084
[email protected]

Richard Harrison/Sarah Harrison
Imagen PR
01943 468778
[email protected]

Notes to editors:

  • Case studies identifying specific suppliers in each region of the UK are available on request.

About Drax Group

Drax Group plc is an innovative energy company that owns and operates the UK’s largest power station in Selby, North Yorkshire, typically providing some 8% of the UK’s electricity. A vital strategic asset, the Group has transformed itself into a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator through its use of innovative technology and sustainably sourced wood pellets. The largest decarbonisation project in Europe is underway to provide the UK with cost-effective, low-carbon and reliable renewable power.

About Oxford Economics

Oxford Economics was founded in 1981 as a commercial venture with Oxford University’s business college to provide economic forecasting and modelling to UK companies and financial institutions expanding abroad. It is now one of the world’s foremost independent global advisory firms, providing reports, forecasts and analytical tools on 200 countries, 100 industrial sectors and over 3,000 cities. Its best-of-class global economic and industry models and analytical tools give an unparalleled ability to forecast external market trends and assess their economic, social and business impact.

About the study

Oxford Economics assessed the economic benefits of Drax Group using a standard means of analysis, called an economic impact assessment. This approach is applied in each of the three stages of the study.