Archives: Press Release

Drax welcomes DECC carbon calculator’s contribution to sustainable biomass debate

Drax welcomes the publication of the DECC report ‘Life cycle impacts of biomass electricity in 2020’ and the contribution it can make to the debate surrounding carbon savings through the use of sustainable biomass in the production of electricity.

The study considers a broad range of scenarios from the believable to the implausible. As we would expect, the scenarios that more closely reflect real world practices in sustainable forestry and responsible biomass sourcing confirm that using biomass in place of coal can deliver significant carbon savings in the short, medium and long term.

The focus of the study, North America, was identified several years ago by Drax as one of our source areas due to the abundance of biomass which met with our own robust sustainability criteria. The biomass that Drax sources from this geographic area includes woody residues and thinnings from sustainably managed forests where the carbon stock is either stable or increasing. The study recognises both the low carbon impacts of biomass sourced in this way and the scale of the resource. Drax also sources biomass from Europe.

As an academic study it does not purport to represent actual supply chains, each of which has distinct attributes, but it does confirm the need to ensure that all biomass used for electricity production is sourced sustainably to deliver low carbon electricity. That is something Drax has campaigned for in the UK and Europe for many years and which the UK Government has already anticipated by introducing sustainability criteria which will be mandatory from next April.

Adding to the debate, Drax notes the recent publication of a report1, prepared for the European Commission, by another arm of UK Government, the research agency of the Forestry Commission. The report reviews scientific literature on the contributions of biogenic carbon to greenhouse gas emissions due to the production and use of bioenergy, and how these contributions may be appropriately included in methodologies for calculating greenhouse gas emissions. This highlights the importance of working with colleagues across the EU to develop a common understanding and methodology in this important and complex area.

Dorothy Thompson, Chief Executive of Drax, said:

“Sustainability has always been absolutely central to our biomass strategy. The academic study by DECC confirms what Drax has always argued, that there is a right way to source biomass and a wrong way. We welcome that it confirms the fact that where biomass is sourced sustainably major carbon savings can be delivered.

“This study adds to the growing breadth of analysis on sustainable sourcing of biomass as a fuel for low carbon electricity generation. We look forward to working closely with UK Government and other EU stakeholders to improve further the knowledge and analysis in this complex area.

“When we complete our plans to convert three of our generating units to burn sustainable biomass in place of coal we will be able to deliver cost effective, renewable electricity to the equivalent of over three million homes and reduce our carbon emissions by over ten million tonnes a year. No other renewable can make such an impact and provide electricity at scale day-in, day-out whatever the weather.”

Notes to editors

  • Forest Research, Review of literature on biogenic carbon and life cycle assessment of forest bioenergy, Final Task 1 report, DG ENER project, ‘Carbon impacts of biomass consumed in the EU’, 15 May 2014

£200m power station proposal is announced

Abergelli Power Ltd, a UK energy project developer, today announces proposals to build a gas-fired power station on land at Abergelli Farm, south of Felindre and to the north of the M4 motorway. The proposed power station could produce up to 299 megawatts (MW) of electricity and inject tens of millions of pounds into the south west Wales economy.

The company will consult with local people and organisations before applying for permission to build the power station. The proposed project would support 150 jobs during the construction and commissioning period, and up to 15 new full time, skilled jobs when operational.

The proposed project would have low emissions and would help strengthen and secure the UK’s energy supply by providing back up to intermittent energy that is generated from renewable sources – primarily wind and solar.  The power station and its related energy infrastructure would be designed to operate flexibly (i.e. not always running) and would produce electricity for no more than 1,500 hours per year.

Consultation is a very important part of the planning process and Abergelli Power will engage with local communities before applying for development consent to build the power station.   An initial phase of public information events to introduce the project will be held at the following local venues:

  • Thursday, June 19 at Forge Fach Community Resource Centre, Hebron Road, Clydach, Swansea, SA6 5 EJ between 3pm and 7pm;
  • Friday, June 20 at Felindre Welfare Hall, Felindre, Swansea, SA5 7NA between 3pm and 7pm; and
  • Saturday, June 21 at Tircoed Village Hall, Y Cyswllt, Tircoed SA4 9QZ between 10am and 1pm.

Members of the Abergelli Power project team will be on hand at these events to explain the how the proposals will be taken forward and how the consultation process is expected to evolve. Consultation with local communities and organisations, including City & County of Swansea Council as well as the community councils in the vicinity of the site, will be a part of the consenting process for the project, alongside the detailed environmental impact assessments and technical studies that will be undertaken over the coming months.

People and local businesses in the area are being notified of the exhibitions by letter and via an advertisement in the local press.  Information about the project and Abergelli Power can also be viewed online via

Abergelli Power proposes to take gas from the nearby National Gas Transmission System and use it to generate electricity. This energy will feed into the National Grid, which also runs very close to the site. The power station will produce up to 299MW of electricity, enough to supply the equivalent of around 400,000 homes, at times when demand is highest.

Norman Campbell, Abergelli Power’s project director said:

“This power station will be an ultra modern and clean facility and a very significant investment in the local economy. We will do our utmost to ensure that the power plant will cause the minimum disturbance locally, during construction and subsequent operationIts operation will be subject to stringent environmental and emission regulations.

“We will seek to maximise local economic benefit where we can, both during construction and operations.

He added: “Before seeking permission to build the plant, there will be an extensive consultation process with City & County of Swansea Council and with local people and interest groups. This is extremely important to us, as we want to explain our plans in detail and listen to what people have to say.”

Mr Campbell said that Swansea City Council and the Welsh Government had been briefed on the proposal. Following consultation and feedback from communities and interest groups, Abergelli Power intends to submit an application for a Development Consent Order to the UK’s Planning Inspectorate in early 2015 with a final decision taken by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Additional consents, including planning permissions, may also be required for elements of the project.

Abergelli Power is a development company solely focused on taking forward the project at Abergelli Farm. It is owned by Watt Power ( The Watt Power management team has extensive experience of developing energy projects in the UK and overseas. The company is currently taking forward two similar power station projects in the UK: one in Hirwaun, in Rhondda Cynon Taf and one in Suffolk, south east England.

Subject to the consultation and planning process and financing, the power station could enter commercial operation in by 2020.

Planning Inspectorate accepts Progress Power Development Consent Order Application

The Inspectorate has decided that the application meets the standards required to be formally accepted for examination. This follows its consideration of, amongst other things, the consultation that has been carried out by Progress Power.

The Project now moves into a pre-examination phase. This means that members of the public will be able to register with the Planning Inspectorate and provide a summary of their views of the application in writing. Everyone who has registered and made a relevant representation will be invited to attend a preliminary meeting run and chaired by an Inspector.

The pre-examination stage of the process is expected to take approximately three months. Further updates will be posted on this website.

24 April 2014 – Planning Inspectorate accepts Hirwaun Power application

The Planning Inspectorate has accepted an application by Hirwaun Power Ltd for an Order Granting Development Consent for the proposed Hirwaun Power Station.

The Inspectorate has decided that the application meets the standards required to be formally accepted for examination. This follows its consideration of, amongst other things, the extensive consultation that has been carried out.

The Project now moves into a pre-examination phase. This means that members of the public will be able to register with the Planning Inspectorate and provide a summary of their views of the application in writing by the deadline, which is 29th May 2014. Everyone who has registered and made a relevant representation will be invited to attend a preliminary meeting run and chaired by an Inspector.

The pre-examination stage of the process is expected to take approximately three months. Further updates will be posted on this website.

Progress Power Takes Stock of Local Feedback Towards Project

These comments have influenced the evolution of the overall Project design that will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, for examination on behalf of the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change.

Yesterday (Thursday, March 6th) was the final day for Progress Power to receive comments and address them as part of the application process for a Development Consent Order (DCO).  The comments received between May 2013 and yesterday, and Progress Power’s response to them, will be included in a comprehensive Consultation Report that will form part of Progress Power’s DCO application. The Consultation Report will be made publicly available alongside the other Project reports, such as the Environmental Statement.

After today, any comments made to Progress Power about the Project will be considered by the Project team but will not be referenced in the Consultation Report.

If the application is accepted, people can register via the Planning Inspectorate website as an “interested party” which allows them to participate in the Inspectorate’s examination process. For further information, please visit

The Planning Inspectorate will conduct a thorough scrutiny of Progress Power’s DCO application only after it has accepted the DCO application for examination.  Progress Power is aiming to submit its DCO application at the end of this month. The Planning Inspectorate will make a decision on whether or not to accept the application within 28 days of the submission.

Electrical Connection Plans: Progress Power Meets Local Residents

More than 70 people attended the three drop-in sessions, including a number of local parish, district and county councillors. The Progress Power team answered a range of questions about its plans including the choice of the ECC’s location, the access to it and its visual impact.  The team also explained the need for the ECC, its rationale for choosing to bury the electrical connection underground and its intention to screen the ECC.

Information on the ECC can be downloaded from the Progress Power website and it can be viewed at local libraries.  The deadline for people to send Progress Power their comments on the ECC and its access arrangements is 6 March.  Progress Power will consider the written views and the comments made at today’s drop-in sessions as it finalises its application for a Development Consent Order for the Project; this is expected to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate at the end of March.

Progress Power Information Update Drop-in Sessions

Progress Power recently published an Information Update about our plan for an Electrical Connection Compound (ECC) that will connect, via underground cable, our proposed power station at Eye Airfield to the National Grid Electricity Transmission system.

Last week, members of our team hand delivered a 2-page summary of our plans to households in the vicinity of the ECC, as well as to other local interests.   In addition, the Information Update has been posted on the Progress Power website, lodged in local libraries and lodged at Mid Suffolk District Council’s main office in Needham Market.  You may have also seen advertising notices and news articles in the local media (published last week) about the ECC and the proposed access arrangements.

Since the publication of the Information Update, we have received some questions and comments (via phone and email) from people that we have either answered or registered.

Members of the Progress Power team will be available to answer questions in person on Tuesday, 25th February.  The team will be at the following locations on the 25th:

  •   Mellis Memorial Hall – 12.00noon to 2.00pm
  •   Yaxley Village Hall – 4.00pm to 6.00pm
  •   Eye Town Hall – 7.00pm to 9.00pm

Please note that these sessions, agreed with Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council, will be akin to an “MP’s Surgery” rather than the exhibitions we have previously held.   Copies of the Information Update will be available for inspection, and our team will be happy to deal with people’s questions on a one-to-one basis.  Given the various times and the three locations, we trust that anyone who wishes to meet us will be able to do so.  We are, of course, still happy to receive comments by phone, freepost or email.

We have sent details of the sessions to Parish Councils in the vicinity of the Project, district and county councillors and local MPs (as well as all those people who have registered with Progress, asking to be kept informed).   We will also post notices in the area and inform the local media.

Progress Power Outlines Plans to Connect Power Station to the National Grid

The information relates to the electrical connection that will export electricity from the proposed power station on Eye Airfield to the existing overhead National Grid transmission lines that run parallel to the A140 Norwich road, and near to the villages of Yaxley, Mellis and Thrandeston.

Local parish councils, people living in these villages as well as other local interests, such as the Suffolk Preservation Society and Common Concern, are being notified of this new information.

After widespread consultation and extensive technical and environmental studies, Progress Power is proposing a new underground cable connection to a new sub-station (that is part of an Electrical Connection Compound) on land situated close to the National Grid transmission lines and located north of Yaxley and Mellis.  Progress Power has also today published proposals on how the Electrical Connection Compound will be accessed by construction vehicles to avoid traffic and disturbance in local villages.  A new junction off the A140 is being proposed.

Chris McKerrow, Project Director for Progress Power said: “Our proposals for the electrical connection avoid the need for more overhead pylons across the countryside, something that both Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council, and members of the public, wanted us to avoid.  Our plans will include extensive landscaping, including the planting of trees, in order to minimise the visual impact of the Electrical Connection Compound.  We have also heeded people’s concerns about traffic to and from the site of the compound, expressed at our public exhibitions in October and since, by proposing a new junction off the A140.”

Detailed information about the Electrical Connection Compound and the proposed access arrangements can be accessed by the public via these different ways:

  •   Website:
  •   Local libraries: Diss, Eye, Ipswich, Ixworth and Stradbroke
  •   Mid Suffolk District Council: at its Needham Market office

Local parish councils, local MPs, Common Concern and the Suffolk Preservation Society have received the Information Update from Progress Power, and so people can also obtain the Update from them as well as from the county and district councils.

Furthermore, notices about the new information have been posted in the local press and noticeboards in the area.  Progress Power will also host drop-in sessions in the area within the next 2-3 weeks to give people the opportunity to ask questions about the latest plans: the dates and locations will be published shortly.

Progress Power welcomes feedback and comment on this Information Update from local communities and organisations. This non-statutory update period runs until 6th March 2014.

Comments and feedback can be sent via [email protected] or by letter Freepost RTEY-JYYB-ERSR, Progress Power Ltd, 49 York Place, Edinburgh EH1 3JD.

Progress Power Meets with Local Parish Councillors

The meeting took place in Scole, and was chaired by Derek Haley, Leader of Mid Suffolk District Council.

The main purpose of the meeting was to provide information on the Planning Inspectorate’s procedures to examine Progress Power’s Project and how the local community and their representatives can feed into that process.  In addition, Progress Power outlined to the meeting the various initiatives that it has undertaken over the past nine months to share its plans with people in the vicinity of the proposed site.  These have included a series of public exhibitions, adverts and articles in local newspapers, a leaflet, posters and a series of meetings with local council representatives.  The Planning Inspectorate, Progress Power as well as representatives of Mid Suffolk District Council and Suffolk County Council answered questions at the meeting.

Progress Power will shortly be publishing further information on the Project, with particular regard to the proposed electrical connection compound, including the substation, and the traffic/access arrangements relating to its construction. These access changes are a direct result of the concerns raised by the local people during the statutory consultation process in October and November last year.  This information will be made available for comment at local libraries, at Mid Suffolk District Council’s office in Needham Market and via the Progress Power website:

Although the statutory period of consultation ended last November, Progress Power is happy to continue to receive feedback on the overall Project via email at [email protected]or via Freepost RTEY-JYYB-ERSR, Progress Power Ltd, 49 York Place, Edinburgh EH1 3JD.

For further information:

Progress Power: 01603 417722 or [email protected]