Drax plans to fill energy gap if UK government drops Somerset nuclear plans

UK bioenergy giant Drax has announced that it will step in to fill a potential energy gap if the UK government drops plans for a €20 billion nuclear station in Somerset.

Andy Koss, CEO of Drax Group, told Bloomberg that biomass is the UK’s most cost-effective form of energy on a whole-systems cost basis. The company, which converted three of its six units to biomass from coal, “stands ready” to convert the remaining three, he said.

Biomass would be “the cheapest” source of energy if all costs of running a plant were considered he said, including the need to balance the variability of other renewables as well as providing back-up capacity.

“Biomass can do baseload, it can do reliable and it can do flexible dispatch,” Koss said in an interview to Bloomberg.

A brand new incineration plant would generate power at a mid-price levelized cost of $145 per megawatt hour, and a coal-to-biomass conversion would be “significantly cheaper,” according to Jonas Rooze, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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