The UK government is poised to greenlight a multi-billion-pound carbon capture scheme proposed by Drax, according to reports by The Telegraph. The initiative involves integrating two carbon capture plants onto Drax's four generating units in North Yorkshire, with the aim of transforming Drax into the world's first carbon-negative power station.
The project would position the company as a central hub for the UK's inaugural zero-carbon industrial cluster, known as the Zero Carbon Humber, contributing to the decarbonization of the North of England.
Drax commenced formal talks with the government in March last year, expressing readiness to proceed with a £2 billion (€2.3 billion) investment program, subject to swift decision-making and engagement from the government. The plan aims to be realized by 2030.
Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho is expected to secure approval for the carbon capture scheme this week. As part of the initiative, a consultation will be commissioned to explore the optimal means of extending the subsidy system. Drax, which currently produces around 4% of the UK's electricity, received £617 million (€716.5 million) from consumer bills under the subsidy system last year.
CEO Will Gardiner outlined Drax's commitment to investing billions in developing two Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) units at the Drax Power Station. The project could potentially generate up to 10,000 new jobs during the peak of construction. BECCS is recognized as a credible large-scale technology capable of producing secure renewable power while facilitating carbon removals.
Gardiner highlighted the global significance of Drax's BECCS plans, positioning the Humber and the UK as key players in BECCS development. He emphasized the necessity of BECCS in achieving the UK government's goal of deploying five million tonnes of carbon removals by 2030.
Gardiner anticipates additional policy support for BECCS deployment, building on the momentum observed in 2023 with the publication of the Biomass Strategy and updates on expansion processes.