Drax’s bioenergy and carbon capture project gets green light

Drax’s bioenergy carbon capture and storage project has been granted the green light by energy security and net zero secretary Claire Coutinho.

The Drax power station produces 4% of Britain’s power and 9% of its renewable energy by burning wood – biomass – imported from North America.

The upgrade will use bioenergy with carbon capture and storage to capture and permanently store carbon dioxide that is generated during the production of electricity from “sustainable” biomass.

Drax argues that burning biomass is carbon neutral as regrowing sustainable forests absorbs similar amounts of carbon dioxide as burning the wood in a power plan.

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Chief executive Will Gardiner said the go ahead “demonstrates both the continued role that Drax power station has in delivering UK energy security and the critical role it could have in delivering large-scale carbon dioxide removals to meet net zero targets”.

Greenpeace head of policy Dr Doug Parr argues that “slapping a carbon capture plant” on existing biomass stations “does not make it a clean source of energy”.

“The environmental and human downsides of large-scale pellet production and burning haven’t gone away,” Parr added.

“Carbon capture has a poor record on cost and delivery so while it might be appropriate for the decarbonisation of very challenging niche sectors, it certainly isn’t for the power sector where alternative, cheaper zero-carbon technologies exist.”

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