Drax ends 50 years of coal-fired power generation

Drax CEO Will Gardiner

Renewable energy giant Drax Group has announced that almost 50 years of power generation from coal at its North Yorkshire power station has come to an end.

Once the largest coal-fired power station in Western Europe, the plant is now the single largest generator of renewable power in the UK.

Over the last decade four of the power station’s six generating units have been converted to use sustainable biomass.

Drax said: “Following the end of the winter contingency agreement, Drax will now embark on a decommissioning process to remove coal-related infrastructure from the site which will start with the flue gas desulphurisation plant that was built in the 1990s to remove 90% of the sulphur from the plant’s air emissions.”

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said: “Ending the use of coal at Drax is a landmark moment in our efforts to become a world-leading carbon negative company.

“I’d like to thank the many hundreds of people, including our staff, suppliers, and local communities, for all the hard work it has taken to transform Drax Power Station into the UK’s biggest renewable power source by output.

“By converting the plant to use sustainable biomass we have not only continued generating the secure power millions of homes and businesses rely on, but we have also played a significant role in enabling the UK’s power system to decarbonise faster than any other in the world.

“We’re now planning to go further by using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to permanently remove millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, and we are engaged in discussions with the UK Government to move this £2bn project forward.

“The global momentum for converting coal-fired power stations to biomass is growing as more countries work to reduce their emissions by moving away from fossil fuels to renewables while maintaining their energy security.

“In recent months, new projects have been announced in countries from Japan to Hungary. If BECCS were eventually added to each of these sites they would be able to remove carbon from the atmosphere while generating power.”