Drax Power Station in Selby, North Yorkshire, will cease using coal to generate electricity in March 2021, ahead of the governmentâ€™s 2025 deadline.
Over the last decade, four of the power stationâ€™s six generating units have been converted to use biomass, which Drax says delivers carbon savings of more than 80% compared to when they used coal.
Drax Power said the move away from coal will lead to job losses and trade unions and employee representatives will be consulted in the coming months.
Drax CEO Will Gardiner said: ‘Ending the use of coal at Drax is a landmark in our continued efforts to transform the business and become a world-leading carbon negative company by 2030.
‘Draxâ€™s journey away from coal began some years ago and Iâ€™m proud to say weâ€™re going to finish the job well ahead of the governmentâ€™s 2025 deadline.’
Despite Drax’s move away from coal, they have been criticised by green groups for ‘greenwashing’ around their use of biomass. In 2016 Drax burnt pellets made from approximately 13 million tonnes of wood, much of which had been shipped from the United States and South America.
They are also facing a legal challenging from environmental lawyers ClientEarth following a decision in October 2019 by then-energy minister Andrea Leadsom to approve plans for four new gas turbines in North Yorkshire, overturning a decision by the UKâ€™s Planning Inspectorate.
ClientEarth were invited to produce a formal assessment to the Planning Inspectorate and said that the combination of the projectâ€™s scale, high emissions intensity and long operating life make it a â€˜significantâ€™ threat to the UKâ€™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 Power