Drax starts planning process for gas options and battery storage on site

UK power giant Drax has started consultations on long-term options to repower up to two of its coal-fired units to gas and build battery storage at Drax Power Station.

The company's plans to repurpose units to gas were announced in June and are part of an ongoing research and development project.

The options could create up to 3.6GW of new gas generation capacity and 200MW of battery storage.

The upgrade would enhance Drax Power Station’s flexible and responsive capability, and make Yorkshire the home of large scale battery technology.

If developed, the plans would increase Drax’s ability to provide flexible generation and grid support services which Britain’s electricity system will need as coal and other large power stations are turned off.

The company is working to explore the conversion of a fourth unit to sustainable biomass.

Three units have already been successfully upgraded and account for 70% of the electricity Drax produces, enough to power Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool and 16% of the UK’s total renewable power.

Drax expects to begin consulting on these options with local communities and national stakeholders over the coming weeks.

Andy Koss, CEO of Drax Power, said: “We are at the start of the planning process but if developed these options for gas and battery storage show how Drax could upgrade our existing infrastructure to provide capacity, stability and essential grid services, as we do with biomass.

“This would continue to keep costs low for consumers and help to deliver government’s commitment to remove coal from the UK grid.

“Drax Power Station is a national asset and a significant driver of economic growth in the North of England. These options could repurpose up to two of our coal assets and extend their operation into the 2030s.

“We have always supported and worked with our local communities and want to ensure they have a role in shaping our thinking. We will undertake a comprehensive programme of local consultation and engagement over the coming months to share our options with the public and listen to their views.”

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