Drax scraps plans for Biomass plants ands blames government support

Published on Wednesday, 22 February 2012 11:27
Posted by Scott Buckler

Drax, operator of Britain's largest coal-fired power station, is scrapping plans to build two biomass plants in the UK with Germany's Siemens in a fresh blow to the future of renewable energy


The company blamed a lack of financial help from the government for the decision which involved an investment of around £1.4bn.

Dorothy Thompson, the chief executive, said: "We have expressed disappointment with the proposed level of support for this technology, which makes the investment case for the independent [biomass] generators highly challenging.

"The development planned for the Drax power station site has proved the most [problematic] for a number of reasons, including its inland location which increases logistics costs."

Thompson added that given the significant financial liability that "we would face were we to delay our investment decision until we have certainty over the final support level for dedicated biomass, we have decided to cancel the project."

Drax has also shelved plans to build a second plant at another UK site, but is exploring options to develop a biomass facility with Siemens at the port of Immingham on the River Humber. Biomass typically burns wood chippings, agricultural waste and straw pellets, a process that cuts carbon emissions by around 80% compared to coal.

Thompson was more upbeat about prospects for boosting profits and reducing pollution by mixing increasing quantities of biomass with coal, so-called "co-firing," at its huge Drax plant in North Yorkshire. The plant, near Selby, supplies 7% of Britain's electricity.

Source: Guardian

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