Drax power station sets 2030 ‘carbon negative’ goal

The owners of Drax power station in Selby say they want to be ‘carbon negative’ by 2030.

Drax CEO Will Gardiner will make the announcement when he speaks at COP25 in Madrid later today (December 10), which signals a major volte-face for a company that was once dubbed Europe’s biggest polluter.

Drax operates the large biomass and coal-fired power station in Selby but has plans to use 100% bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology, which will remove more carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere than it produces, creating a negative carbon footprint for the company.

Drax is already running a successful BECCS pilot at its power station capturing a tonne of carbon dioxide every day.

However, Drax says their ambition is only achievable with an investment framework into BECCS and government subsidies for the plant are already around £2m a day.

Drax is a member of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, an initiative launched by the UK and Canadian governments, which seeks to end the use of unabated coal in power stations around the world by 2030.

Drax CEO Will Gardiner will say: ‘Drax’s ambition is to be carbon negative by 2030.  Having pioneered the use of sustainable biomass, Drax now produces 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity. With the right negative emissions policy, we can do much more, removing millions of tonnes of emissions from the atmosphere each year.

‘The UK Government is working on a policy and investment framework to encourage negative emissions technologies, which will enable the UK to be home to the world’s first carbon-negative company.

‘This is not just critical to beating the climate crisis, but also to enabling a just transition, protecting jobs and creating new opportunities for clean growth – delivering for the economy as well as for the environment.’

In October, energy minister Andrea Leadsom approved plans for Drax Power to install four new gas turbines in North Yorkshire, overturning a decision by the UK’s Planning Inspectorate.

ClientEarth, who were invited to produce a formal assessment to the Planning Inspectorate earlier this year, said that the combination of the project’s scale, high emissions intensity and long operating life make it a ‘significant’ threat to the UK’s carbon targets and could be responsible for as much as 75% of the emissions budget for the entire UK power sector.

Photo Credit – Drax

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Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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