Drax Carbon Seize Might Price Invoice Payers £40 Billion – Watts Up With That?


By Paul Homewood

More from the Guardian on Drax Carbon Capture:

Drax has received permission from the government to fit carbon capture technology to its wood-burning power plant, in a project that could cost bill-payers more than £40bn.

The energy secretary, Claire Coutinho, on Tuesday approved the project to convert two of its biomass units to use the technology.

Analysts have predicted that the revamp of the North Yorkshire site could be one of the most expensive energy projects in the world.

The project could add about £1.7bn to energy bills every year if the company acts on plans to fit all four of its biomass units with carbon capture technology, or a total of more than £43bn, according to Ember, a climate thinktank.

In addition, the government is expected within days to extend a lucrative bill-payer-backed subsidy scheme that last year paid Drax more than £600m to burn trees for electricity until the end of the decade.

The decision is likely to anger environmentalists, who have campaigned against burning imported wood pellets and have opposed the multi-billion-pound subsidies paid to Drax over the past 12 years.

A report commissioned by Drax has claimed that adding carbon capture to its biomass power units could save the UK economy up to £15bn between 2030 and 2050 when compared to other, more complex carbon reduction measures using biomass.

Phil MacDonald, the chief operating officer at Ember, said the report ignored the “immediate real costs” of building the plant, which are likely to fall to taxpayers or energy users.

“Over 20 years, this could make Drax’s BECCS plans one of the most expensive energy projects in the world, funded from bill-payers’ pockets,” MacDonald said.


Just because Drax BECCS might be cheaper than other BECCS schemes is hardly a recommendation!

Ember’s costings are here. They include current subsidies and look reasonable.

Not only would Drax need to recoup the capital cost, which they have said will be billions. There will also be increased operating costs, not least because carbon capture itself is an energy intensive process. In other words, some of Drax’s generation will have to be used to power the Carbon Capture plant, instead of being sold.

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