Drax plans to convert up to two coal power units to gas in UK


Energy firm Drax Group has sought permission from the UK's Planning Inspectorate to begin preparing the conversion of up to two coal power units to gas power plants at its Drax Power Station site in North Yorkshire.

The company also plans to build a battery storage facility at the site.

If approved, the planned gas-fired units could generate a total of up to 3.6GW of energy and the battery storage facility could produce 200MW of power.

Development of both the gas-fired plants and the battery storage facility will be carried out as part of the company’s ‘Drax Repower’ project.

“This would continue to keep costs low for consumers and help to deliver the government’s commitment to remove coal from the UK grid."

Once developed, the facilities are expected to help Drax to help create a low-carbon environment in the UK.

Drax Power CEO 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 the 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.”

Conversion of the coal power units and the development of the battery storage facility are subject to a positive investment decision and will require the support of a 15-year capacity market contract.

When completed, the proposed projects will complement Drax’s ongoing work to explore the conversion of a fourth unit to sustainable biomass.

The company has already converted three of its coal-powered plants into sustainable biomass-based facilities.