Drax posts 2017 earnings amid biomass conversion

27 February Drax posted its 2017 numbers showing growth in energy output and earnings from renewable energy tariffs.

The growth comes despite a fire in December that reportedly cost the company £10 million (€11.3 million) and as coal is being phased-out of the UK’s energy mix.

Energy output was up to 20 TWh in 2017 from 19.6 TWh in 2016, with 65% of this energy coming from renewable biomass. Earnings from Renewable Obligation Certificates totalled £626.7 million and those from the Contracts for Difference totalled £248.2 million, both of these numbers represent an increase from the previous year.

Drax’s overall profits were down, however, due to one-off costs related to its acquisition of Opus Energy and depreciation of its coal-related assets.

The company anticipates increased biomass self-supply through the acquisition of Opus and the commissioning of a third biomass pellet plant, LaSalle Bioenergy. Pellet production was up 35% in 2017 compared with 2016.

Historically, Drax was known for running the UK’s largest coal-fired power station, the company is now in the process of converting its operations to biomass ahead of the country’s 2025 deadline to phase-out coal.


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