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Drax powers on with coal-free plan

Drax Power Station 3x2

Drax power plant has taken a big step towards its efforts to be coal-free by 2025. 

The North Yorkshire power station has submitted a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the planning inspectorate to replace its two remaining coal generating units with gas-fired power generation and battery storage units.

A decision is expected by business secretary Greg Clark MP by next year, as the plant aims to go coal-free before the government’s 2025 cut off date. 

Proposals include the construction of two new gas-fired generation units with the combined capacity of up to 3,600MW, with four turbines that can operate in both a combined-cycle or open-cycle mode. 

It also proposes creating a battery storage facility with a capacity of up to 200MW, and a new gas pipeline to connect to the existing National Transmission System pipeline.

Associated development includes an electrical connection to Drax’s existing substation from the repowered units to allow electricity to be distributed into the National Grid. 

Drax Power chief executive Andy Koss said: “With our gas Repower plans and the conversion of a fourth generating unit this summer to use biomass instead of coal, we intend to extend the life of the plant, protect jobs and deliver the flexible and reliable power millions of households and businesses need.

“Working with the communities local to the power station has been an integral part of the process. The Repower project could secure the future of the power station beyond 2025 when the government says coal must come off the system.”

Drax announced it would trial a new bioenergy carbon capture and storage technique - the first of its kind in Europe - to make the non-coal part of the Drax plant carbon negative. 

The power station, near Selby, completed the conversion of three coal fired boilers to run on biomass, which is made up of wooden pellets, in 2016.

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