DRAX is a step closer to generating power from gas for the first time at its North Yorkshire plant as proposals go before the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

Drax Power Station, near Selby, has formally submitted an application to the Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for its Repower gas generation and battery storage project.

The plans were first announced in September, and involved replacing Drax’s two remaining coal generating units with gas-fired power generation delivering up to 3.6 gigawatts, alongside a 200 megawatt batter storage facility.

Since unveiling the proposals Drax has been developing engineering and environmental reports for the application, as well as carrying out a consultation programme with local people, landowners and councils.

The Planning Inspectorate now has 28 days to determine if it will accept the application.

If accepted, the proposals will be examined by the Planning Inspectorate and then considered by the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with a decision expected in 2019.

Drax says that by upgrading its existing infrastructure to use gas the company will be able to provide more capacity, stability and essential grid services keeping costs low and delivering the government’s commitment to end power generation with unabated coal by 2025.

Andy Koss, Drax Power chief executive, said: “With our gas Repower plans and the conversion of a fourth generating unit this summer to use biomass instead of coal, we intend to extend the life of the plant, protect jobs and deliver the flexible and reliable power millions of households and businesses need.

“Working with the communities local to the power station has been an integral part of the process.

“The Repower project could secure the future of the power station beyond 2025 when the government says coal must come off the system.”

Drax is already the UK’s largest single site renewable power generator having converted three coal generating units to use sustainable wood pellets, with the fourth set for this summer.

More than two thirds of the power produced is now renewable, providing 15 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity – enough for four million homes.

If the DCO order is granted, Drax will notify local authorities, landowners and other statutory consultees who will receive a copy of the accepted application documents.