MOVES to build ground-breaking negative emissions technology at Drax Power Station and create tens of thousands of jobs have reached a major milestone.

Drax is kickstarting the planning process for its proposals to build bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

The energy company's power station near Selby has already become the largest decarbonisation project in Europe, having converted it to use sustainable biomass instead of coal.

Now it has ambitions to go further by using BECCS to permanently remove millions of tonnes of CO2 each year from the atmosphere and create a negative carbon footprint for the company.

To use BECCS, Drax must secure a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the government. This process takes about two years to complete and will get underway in March.

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO said: “Kickstarting the DCO process this March is a landmark moment in deploying BECCS at Drax and delivering against our ambition to be a carbon negative company by 2030.

“At Drax we are very proud of the great strides already made in transforming the business to become the UK’s largest single site renewable power generator, producing enough renewable electricity for up to four million homes and protecting thousands of jobs in the process.

“With BECCS we can go even further - we will be permanently removing millions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and making a significant contribution to efforts to address the climate emergency, whilst creating thousands of new jobs and supporting a post-covid, economic recovery.”

Drax recently announced the proposed acquisition of Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc – a Canadian wood pellet producer.

The deal, which is subject to shareholder and other approvals, would double Drax’s own biomass production capacity, in line with its strategy to increase self-supply, reduce costs and create a long term future for biomass – paving the way for the deployment of BECCS

If successful in its DCO application, and subject to the right investment framework from government, work to build Drax’s first two BECCS units could get underway in 2024, ready to start capturing and storing up to eight million tonnes of CO2 a year.

The first phase of the DCO application process includes an informal public consultation during March, when people can provide comments on Drax’s proposals for BECCS via the project website.

Earlier this month Drax sold its four gas power stations and announced last week, as part of its 2020 financial results, that it will not be progressing plans to develop high efficiency gas power at the site in North Yorkshire.

The news comes a year after Drax said it would end almost 50 years of commercial coal-fired electricity generation at Drax Power Station in March 2021 and is aligned with its intention to focus on renewable generation from biomass and hydro.

Work to build BECCS could get underway at Drax as soon as 2024, creating tens of thousands of jobs and supporting a post-Covid economic recovery. By 2027 Drax’s first BECCS unit could be operational, delivering the UK’s largest carbon capture project and permanently removing millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

Members of the public can find out more and provide comments on the proposals via live QA and chat events on:

o Tuesday March 9, 4pm to 8pm

o Thursday March 11, 4pm to 8pm

o Saturday March 13, 10am to 2pmber of

Individual calls can also be booked with a member of the project team, on Tuesday March 23, via the website.

The deadline for comments on the proposals is midnight on Sunday March 28, 2021.

The feedback will be used to inform more detailed plans which will be subject to a formal consultation later in the year.

Final plans are expected to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in 2022.