DRAX has reported a rise in earnings across all three areas of its business for the first time as the group’s North Yorkshire power station ramps up its renewables agenda.

The energy giant, which operates Drax Power Station near Selby, reported a 64 per cent rise in EBITDA (earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to £229 million.

In its latest results, for the year ending December 31, 2017, Drax saw its earning rise across all three areas of the business, with business at its Power Generation division in North Yorkshire up £64 million to £238 million.

However the Group reported an overall pre-tax loss of £183 million, down from a pre-tax profit of £197 million in 2016. The fall was attributed to unrealised losses related to foreign currency hedging of £156 million, associated with purchasing dollars to fund its US-based biomass pellet production costs.

Overall the groups Pellet Production venture saw a 35 per cent growth in production, putting the operation into the black as £6 million losses from 2016 were transformed into earnings of the same figure.

The groups business supply venture B2B Energy Supply also came out of the red with earnings up £33 million to £29 million, bolstered by the firm’s acquisition of Opus Energy during the period.

Andy Koss, chief executive of Drax Power station, which has recently received Government support to convert its fourth unit from coal to biomass power generation, said: “We are really pleased with the results which show overall growth from all three areas of the business. In particular earnings from power generation are up 37 per cent to £238 million which has been really driven by renewable growth.

“A total of 65 per cent of our energy is generated by biomass and this really is driving the growth of our profits. And with Government support in place for our fourth conversion we would expect these figures to continue to go up on 2018.

“Our future is in running four units on biomass, converting one or both of the remaining coal units to gas, and operating four rapid response gas projects elsewhere in England and Wales. That represents a lot of investment in creating jobs and power generation in the local region.

“We feel that our strategy towards renewable power generation is very much coming to fruition and we think we have got a bright future ahead both in terms of power generation and right across the group.”

The group said it was on track to hit its £425 million EBITDA target by 2025.

Drax Group Chief Executive Will Gardiner, said: “We continued to transform the business in 2017. This was delivered by all parts of the business making positive contributions for the first time.”