Transformational plans for future power generation at Drax to be revealed

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 11 Jan 2018

PLANS to re-power two of the remaining coal-fired generators at Drax will go on show later this month.

As reported, the regional giant, responsible for eight per cent of the nation’s electricity, is looking to switch to gas, as well as install what could be one of the largest batteries in the world. 

If the plans go ahead in their entirety, the development would include two combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) which would also be capable of operating as rapid response gas power plants in open-cycle mode, with a combined capacity of up to 3,600 megawatts (MW) of electricity as well as battery storage of up to 200MW.

Subject to development consent and construction, the project could start generating electricity in 2022/23. 

The exhibitions follow on from initial events held in November and are part of the statutory consultation process required ahead of submitting an application for a Development Consent Order. 

Andy Koss, chief executive at Drax Power, said: “The options we’re exploring could reuse some of the existing infrastructure from the remaining coal assets at Drax and extend their operation as gas plant into the 2030s. The re-power project could secure the future of the power station beyond 2025 when the government says coal must come off the system.

“Drax Power Station is a national asset and a significant driver of economic growth in the North of England, generating more than half a billion pounds for the northern economy and supporting 6,000 jobs.”

Drax is already the UK’s largest single site renewable power generator having converted three coal generating units to use sustainable wood pellets, most of which is imported via Immingham, where the world’s largest biomass reception facility has been built by Associated British Ports in a £130 million investment, and Hull, where a smaller scale facility has also been developed.

More than two thirds of the power produced is now renewable, providing 17 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity – enough for four million homes.

Mr Koss explained that by upgrading its existing infrastructure to use gas it would provide more capacity, stability and essential grid services keeping costs low for consumers and delivering the government’s commitment to end power generation with unabated coal by 2025.

The work complements ongoing work to explore options for further generation from sustainable biomass. 

Public exhibitions featuring Drax’s proposals are taking place at:

  • Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, on January 20, from 10am to 4pm 
  • Drax Sports and Social Club, Main Road, Drax, on January 23, from 3pm to 8pm 
  • Junction, 2 Paradise Place, Goole, on January 24, from 2pm to 7pm 
  • Selby Town Hall, York Street Selby, on February 1, from 10am to 4pm 
  • Hemingbrough Methodist Church Hall, Main Street, Hemingbrough, on February 2, from 9.30am to 1.30pm

“Holding public events to share our ideas with local people is a great way to hear their views,” Mr Koss added. “It’s really important to us that we support and work with our local communities – we want people who live and work in the area near the power station to play a part in shaping our thinking for the future. We look forward to sharing our ideas and hearing thoughts.”

READ MORE: Toughening market place felt by business according to Chamber survey

The project’s consultation documents are also available to view at the following locations from January 16 until February 27, when the statutory consultation period closes:

• Selby District Council, Access Selby, Market Cross Shopping Centre, Selby, YO8 4JS  

• North Yorkshire County Council, County Hall, Northallerton DL7 8AD

• East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Customer Service Centre, Cross Street, Beverley, HU17 9BA

• Selby Library,52 Micklegate, Selby YO8 4EQ

• Snaith Library, 27 Market Place, Snaith DN14 9HE

• Goole Library, Carlisle Street, Goole DN14 5DS

Further information about the project, the consultation and planning application visit the Drax website

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