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Power Station to Boost Renewable Power Generation

By Katie Anderson on August 3, 2011

Yorkshire-based power station operator Drax looks set to boost its renewable power generation,with ambitions to transform into a predominantly renewable generator.

Drax supplies around 7% of the UK’s electricity, and the move to switch to biomass fuels is designed to enable the operator to clean up its power generation and extend its lifespan by burning more organic plant-based matter.

During the first six months of the year, Drax reportedly burnt over 600,000 tonnes of biomass, from which it generated around 8% of its electricity, which the group equates to 6% of the UK’s renewable power output,  making it the country’s single biggest source of renewable energy.

The power station operator’s renewable energy plans have been given a boost recently, thanks to the inclusion of biomass in the Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap.

Under a £2bn investment, the generator, based in Selby, North Yorkshire, has ambitions to build three new 290 mega watt dedicated standalone biomass plants.

Finance director Tony Quinlan said that if Government subsidies were sufficient, the power station could be in excess of 50% biomass-fuelled by 2016/17. Clarity on support levels are expected before the end of the year.

“We would be taking five million tonnes of coal out of the mix at Drax and replacing that with seven to eight million tonnes of biomass.

“It would probably make us by output the largest renewable generator in Europe,” said Mr Quinlan.

Drax chief executive Dorothy Thompson added that Drax stands ready to transform into a predominantly renewable energy generator, but they will need an appropriate level of support under the renewables incentive initiative to do so successfully.