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Drax biomass plants to relocate from UK

Electricity-generating company Drax has threatened to relocate its biomass projects oversees if the government refuses to undo its decision to limit subsidies.

Drax, operator of the coal-burning facility in Selby, West Yorkshire, UK, is the biggest polluter in Western Europe. Now, plans to build three biomass power plants are in place to help the company reduce its carbon emissions. The construction of these refineries in Hull, Immingham and one other site makes this project the largest of its kind.

Woodchips and peanut husks will be burned instead of coal, generating low-carbon power for more than 1.2 million homes, as well as creating jobs in the proposed areas.

While some offshore wind projects have been guaranteed 20 years of government support, Drax’s biomass plants may only receive subsidies for four years, the DoE and Climate Change recently ruled.

Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, said, ‘We’ve spent a lot of time and energy building up a skill base around biomass. If we are unable to do it in the UK, then we will go outside.’

However, industry experts are beginning to wonder if the biomass project is realistic, even with the federal financial support. The three refineries would all be larger than any similar biomass project and would be supplied by constant deliveries of trees being shipped from as far away as Canada.