The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

UK's Largest Power Plant Opens Biomass Facility

U.K. energy secretary Ed Davey has opened the country’s largest renewable electricity generator at Drax, the U.K.'s largest power station.

The facility, which will receive, store and distribute sustainable biomass to support the plant's first converted biomass electricity generation unit, was launched on Monday.

It cost the Selby-based Drax $1.14bn (£700m) to convert three of its six coal-fired power generating units to burn biomass. The first has been running successfully on sustainable biomass since the beginning of April, with the second scheduled to come online next year and the third in 2016.

Each converted unit will provide enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of more than a million homes and Drax claims that biomass can deliver carbon savings of around 80 per cent relative to coal.

Drax explained that all of the U.S.-sourced biomass used is sustainable, protects biodiversity, prevents deforestation and delivers genuine carbon savings.

Drax chief executive Dorothy Thompson said: "The facilities being opened today are a unique feat of engineering and remarkably they have been delivered at an operational power station which the country depends on to deliver 7-8 per cent of the power we need.

It is the only renewable that can deliver low-carbon electricity on demand, at the scale the grid needs and precisely when it's needed. It is also a low-cost renewable which will help to manage the expense of the UK's transition to a low-carbon economy."

Mr Davey said: "Today is a real landmark for Drax and for Britain's energy security. Drax's ambitious plans have made it one of Europe's biggest renewable generators, helping to increase our green energy supplies.

"In August we announced challenging and tough sustainability criteria for biomass, and we'll be monitoring the sector against those standards."

Meanwhile the Renewable Energy Association’s Chief Executive Dr. Nina Skorupska told Power Engineering International that the body welcomed the news, but added a caveat.

“Through converting old coal plants and building new biomass plants, we can have electricity when we need it and keep the lights on this decade using sustainable wood fuel instead of polluting coal power.

However she added that, “the Government actually plans to withdraw support for new biomass power-only plants – which is a grave mistake. This makes it all the more vital that Government provides effective support for biomass conversion and combined heat and power under the new EMR package, to reassure investors that it understands the benefits of this cost-effective, baseload source of renewable energy.”

Drax has long been the UK’s biggest single emitter of carbon dioxide, but the firm said it is already the cleanest and most efficient coal-fired power plant in the country and the conversion will see its emissions reduced by around 10 million tonnes.

As part of the operation the firm has invested in 200 bespoke railway wagons that will start to deliver biomass to the power station from the ports of Tyne, Hull and Immingham, on England’s east coast.

RELATED ARTICLES

UK Parliament Clean Energy Leaders

UK Government Names Clean Energy Cabinet Members

David Appleyard, Contributing Editor With the UK general election now over and a majority Conservative Party government in place, the re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron has now named key members of the government charged with steering the UK’s clean energ...
Microgrids

Coast to Coast and Across the Electric System, Microgrids Provide Benefits to All

Dick Munson, Environmental Defense Fund At the most obvious level, microgrids could disrupt today’s utilities and their regulated-monopoly business model, because they challenge the centralized paradigm. In a nutshell, microgrids are localized power grids that ha...
Alaska Airlines Biofuel

Alaska Airlines, Gevo To Demonstrate Renewable Alcohol-to-Jet Fuel

Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest

In Colorado, Gevo and Alaska Airlines announced a strategic alliance to purchase Gevo’s renewable jet fuel and fly the first-ever commercial flight on alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ).

Germany wind turbines. Credit: Shutterstock.

Germany's Powerhouse Feels Pinch of Merkel’s Shift to Renewables

Tino Andresen, Bloomberg North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state that’s home to utilities RWE AG and EON SE, is losing its standing as the country’s powerhouse as wind and solar energy begin to displace conventional sources. Electricity consumers ...
Diarmaid Williams is based in PennWell’s UK office and holds the position of International Digital Editor for Power Engineering International and Cogeneration & On-site Power Production web sites. Prior to joining Pennwell, Diarmaid was Deputy Ed...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

Now in its 31st year, the FEW provides the global ethanol industry with...

Green Energy Summer School: Introduction to Bioenergy

This introductory course gives a detailed overview of the principles of ...

23rd European Biomass Conference and Exhibition

A world class renowned event for dialogue between research, industry, po...

COMPANY BLOGS

Clean Energy Patents Rise in 2014, Solar Tops others, Toyota and GM...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies in 2014 were again at an all ...

US Energy Grid Review Finds Needed Upgrades Would Allow More Solar,...

Yesterday (April 21) the U.S. Department of Energy released the first Qu...

Environmentally friendly solutions for projects

geoAMPS joins the celebration of the worldwide observance of Earth Day o...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS