Drax has taken a major step towards converting the remaining coal-fired power units at its plant in Yorkshire.
The company today announced that it has notified the Planning Inspectorate that it will consult on options to repurpose two coal units to gas and build battery storage at the power station.
Drax first revealed that it was considering its options for repowering three coal-fired units in June with one unit already having been trialled. If they go ahead, these latest conversions could create up to 3.6GW of new gas generation capacity and 200MW of battery storage.
Any conversion plans are subject to a positive investment decision and would need to be underpinned by a 15-year capacity market contract.
Three units have already been upgraded at the plant, accounting for 70% of the electricity Drax produces – enough to power Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool and 16% of the UK’s total renewable power
Drax will consult on its plans with local communities and national stakeholders over the coming weeks.
Drax chief executive Andy Koss said: “We are at the start of the planning process but if developed these options for gas and battery storage show how Drax could upgrade our existing infrastructure to provide capacity, stability and essential grid services, as we do with biomass. This would continue to keep costs low for consumers and help to deliver government’s commitment to remove coal from the UK grid.
“Drax Power Station is a national asset and a significant driver of economic growth in the North of England. These options could repurpose up to two of our coal assets and extend their operation into the 2030s.
“We have always supported and worked with our local communities and want to ensure they have a role in shaping our thinking. We will undertake a comprehensive programme of local consultation and engagement over the coming months to share our options with the public and listen to their views.”