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York Press: Drax to ramp up biomass conversion after Government subsidy announcement


DRAX could become a predominantly biomass-fuelled generator of electricity in about five years, it has said after the Government published its final decisions on support levels for biomass.

Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of the Selby -based power giant, said the business initially expected to convert three of its six generating units to biomass following the announcement of support available for the different renewable technologies under the Renewables Obligation, which will come into effect from April 2013.

She said the company had spent £20 million in research and development this year trialling the full-conversion of one of its generating units to burn biomass, proving the units could be converted.

Mrs Thompson said: "We appreciate the extensive work undertaken by the Government on biomass and we welcome the confirmation of the strategically important role that electricity generated from sustainably-sourced biomass can play in the UK renewable energy mix.

"As a result of our excellent technical progress and the Government's conclusions on support levels, we are confident that we can transform Drax into a predominantly biomass fuelled generator.

“It will take some time to develop all of the sustainable biomass supply chain to fuel these units, but we believe that within approximately five years Drax could become a predominantly biomass fuelled plant. We are currently refining our previously announced £650 million to £700 million strategic capital investment plan, but remain confident of the overall scale. We will continue to work with Government and Ofgem on the design of practical and efficient regulations for the implementation of these decisions.

"This transformation will be achieved through major capital investments at Drax and across the supply chain, securing significant numbers of jobs, primarily in the North East. We remain keen to contribute fully to the UK's renewables and carbon reduction targets by producing low cost, reliable and flexible renewable electricity," she said.