UK’s biggest power station signs up to Powering Past Coal Alliance

Drax Group, owner of the largest power station in Western Europe, has today signed up to the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a global coalition of counties, states, cities and businesses committed to ending coal generation.

The company, which has already upgraded half of its power station in North Yorkshire to use sustainable wood pellets instead of coal, has signed up to the UK-Canadian initiative which seeks to end the use of coal by 2030 in developed countries.

The company’s involvement in the initiative was announced by the Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, UK Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, on Monday April 9 at the Bloomberg Future of Energy Summit in New York.

Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry, said:

“The UK leads the world in tackling climate change – we have reduced emissions by more than 40% since 1990. By phasing out traditional coal power, we are not only taking active steps to tackle climate change, we are also protecting the air we breathe by reducing harmful pollution. The Powering Past Coal Alliance sends a clear signal that the time for unabated coal fired electricity has well and truly passed.”

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said:

“Unabated coal does not have a long term role to play in our low carbon future. The government made it very clear earlier this year that it wants the UK’s power sector to be coal free in 2025 – and we will achieve that, and possibly even beat it.

“We’re exploring options for repowering our remaining coal units to use sustainable biomass and gas which we believe could help us to become coal free even earlier than the 2025 deadline.”

In the UK there has already been a dramatic fall in power generation from coal – an 84% reduction in the last five years, and a major shift towards lower carbon technologies. Friday (April 6 2018) saw Great Britain have its second coal-free 24-hour period since 1882.

Drax Power Station has transformed itself to become the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is the largest single site renewable power generator in the UK since it started using biomass instead of coal in three out of its six generating units. 65% of the power it produces is now renewable – enough for four million households.

It will convert a fourth generating unit from coal to biomass later this year using a low cost solution developed by its world class engineers.

This will leave just two remaining coal generating units which it plans to replace with up to 3.6GW of gas power as well as 200MW of battery storage.


Media contact

Ali Lewis

Drax Group Head of Media Relations

E: [email protected]

T: 01757 612165

Jessica Gorton

Drax Group Press Officer

E: [email protected]

T: 01757 612848

Notes to editors

  • The UK’s Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth Claire Perry MP will attend the Bloomberg Future of Energy Summit conference in New York on Monday April 9, 2018, when she will announce Drax’s decision to sign up to the Powering Past Coal Alliance.
  • Drax Power Station announced its intention to convert its fourth generating unit to use biomass instead of coal earlier this year following the publication of the government’s response to its consultation on cost controls for further biomass conversions.
  • The company is also planning to submit a Development Consent Order (DCO) this year for permission to repower its two remaining coal units with up to 3.6GW of gas power and 200MW of battery storage.
  • Subject to securing a DCO and depending on the outcome of future Capacity Market Auctions, the power station could stop using coal in 2023.

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 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, 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.

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