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Drax reports renewable capacity triumph over fossil fuels

Drax biomass domes with two engineers in foreground, credit: Drax
Drax biomass domes with two engineers in foreground, credit: Drax

New research from energy company Drax Power revealed that total capacity available from UK renewables has overtaken fossil fuels for the first time, which includes biomass’ contribution of 3.2GW.

The promising results are according to Drax’s Electric Insight Report, which was produced independently by researchers from Imperial College London. The report also looks at why power prices are at their highest in the last ten years, accusing Brexit as the primary culprit regarding the increase.

Drax claims a key contribution to the feat was the retiring of a third of fossil fuel generating capacity over the last five years, whilst capacity from renewable energy has tripled, taking the UK total renewable capacity to 42GW.

According to the report, wind farms hold the largest share in the capacity, with more than 20GW available. Solar provides over 13GW whilst biomass contributes with 3.2GW.

“More renewables are crucial for reducing carbon emissions and helping us to meet our climate targets – but flexible, lower carbon generation, is also clearly vital for controlling the costs of maintaining a stable, low carbon power system,” said Andy Koss, CEO of Drax Power.

“The IPCC’s report recognised that in order to meet our climate change targets, up to 85% of global power generation needs to come from renewables by 2050. This means the remainder will have to be provided by flexible sources, which can support the system and help to keep costs down – such as biomass, hydro, pumped storage as well as high efficiency gas.”

The study also supports Drax’s claims that the UK’s growth in wind power has made it the world leader, with 45% of global wind capacity stationed within the nation’s borders.

Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) director of policy and external affairs, James Court, shared similar sentiments on a significant year of growth for renewable energy.

“Capacity from renewables overtaking fossil fuels to hold the biggest share of UK electricity generation is another significant milestone in an already record breaking year for the industry,” Court told Bioenergy Insight.

“As biomass is an essential element to decarbonising the UK, it is a positive sign to see that it held the third largest share in renewables at 3.2GW. If the UK is to meet legally binding climate targets and benefit from cheaper, greener and smarter energy the Government must capitalise on the potential of biomass as a solution to the decarbonisation of heat and power by implementing consistent long-term policy and clear route to market.”

Drax biomass domes with two engineers in foreground, credit: Drax