Biomass

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Octopus Energy Group has added £3.4 billion worth of renewable energy projects to its portfolio with the acquisition of sister company Octopus Renewables. From June the large retailer will manage Octopus Renewables’ European portfolio of more than 300 green assets under new business arm Octopus Energy Generation. Chris Hulatt, co-founder of Octopus Group, the parent company of both businesses, said he hoped the move would unlock a “multitude of new investment opportunities”.
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Crown Estate Scotland has raised the maximum option fees for its ScotWind offshore wind leasing round by ten-fold to £100,000/km². The decision follows a review of the arrangements that was launched after the winners in the Crown Estate’s fourth offshore wind leasing round for England and Wales agreed to pay option fees initially worth £879 million per year for almost 8GW of capacity its first competitive bidding process.
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Latest in Biomass

Environmental groups have warned that bioenergy with carbon capture and storage will not deliver the “negative emissions” touted by advocates, whilst also being expensive and damaging to the environment. Organisations including Friends of the Earth, WWF and Greenpeace expressed their opposition to the technology in an open letter to government.
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Drax has announced its intention to submit a planning application later this month to equip two of the biomass units at its power station in Selby with carbon capture and storage (CCS). The company said the work could potentially begin in 2024, with the first unit becoming operational in 2027.
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Drax has abandoned plans to build up to 3.6GW of new gas generation at its power station in North Yorkshire. The company originally intended to repurpose the steam turbines for its two remaining coal units to create two sets of combined-cycle gas turbines, each with a capacity of up to 1.8GW. Utility Week speaks to chief financial officer Andy Skelton, who also discusses the group's 2020 financial results.
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Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has written to National Grid Electricity System Operator to accept its recommendation to raise the target volume for the upcoming year-ahead (T-1) Capacity Market auction to 2.4GW. The new figure represents a more than six-fold increase on the previous target of 400MW and primarily reflects a significant reduction in the amount of the generation that is expected to be available due to outages, delays or cancellations to new plants and the decommissioning of existing capacity.
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Drax has signed an agreement to buy the Canadian biomass pellet producer Pinnacle Renewable Energy as part of its drive to increase self-sufficiency. Pinnacle operates a total of ten biomass pellet plants – six as part of joint ventures – with seven located in British Columbia, two in Alberta and one in the US state of Alabama.
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Drax chief executive Will Gardiner shares his thoughts on the countdown to COP, calling it a unique opportunity to showcase the UK’s decarbonisation expertise. However, he warns that to present a coherent argument on how we will tackle emissions, the government needs to be clear on frameworks for supporting the rapid scale-up of a diverse range of technologies.
Interviews
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has issued a call for evidence on greenhouse gas removal technologies, specifically direct air carbon capture and storage and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage which it considers to be the most developed options. It said natural solutions such as the use of forests as “carbon sinks” will play an important role in the UK’s climate change strategy and reducing emissions but will fall outside of the scope of the study.
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For the second consecutive day, National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has issued an urgent call for more generation, as systems margins tightened. Last night it issued an electricity margin notice for a 466MW shortfall this evening. It followed a warning of a potential 740MW shortfall yesterday, which was eventually withdrawn.
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A group of twelve companies and organisations have submitted a bid for government funding to help create a zero-carbon industrial hub in the Humber region by 2040. The Zero Carbon Humber partnership said the project could reduce the UK’s total annual carbon emissions by 15 per cent, save businesses around £27.5 billion in carbon taxes over the next two decades, safeguard 55,000 existing jobs and create thousands more.
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A ban on the sale of internal combustion engine cars and gas boilers should be brought forward to as soon as 2030, the pioneering citizens assembly set up to help chart the UK’s route to net-zero emissions has recommended. The first report from the 110-strong Climate Assembly UK also expressed strong support for on and offshore wind generation and solar but was considerably cooler on nuclear and fossil fuels with CCS
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Workers at the Drax power station in North Yorkshire have been voting this week in a ballot for strike action over 230 proposed redundancies, the Unite Union has revealed. Unite has accused Drax of backtracking on a verbal pledge made last year that there would be no compulsory redundancies among the 600-strong workforce, a claim Drax denies.
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