Drax powers ahead with biomass plans as 'coal is the past; renewables is the future', say bosses
ENERGY DOME: Drax's biomass domes generated enough power in the first half of 2017 to power more than four million homes
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 20 Jul 2017
The chief executive of Drax Power says renewables is “keeping the business alive” as new figures show the company produced about 17 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity in the first half of 2017.
Three of the company’s six generating units are currently powered by compressed wood pellets.
Andy Koss, chief executive of Drax Power, said plans were progressing to boost this figure by converting an existing coal unit to biomass.
He said: “We are continuing to work on our new strategy, and have been running a trial on a fourth unit to redesign it and convert that to biomass.
“We have had some good results and that is ongoing. We see coal as very much part of the past; renewables is the future.”
Drax Group plc, the parent compay of Drax Power, unveiled its half year results which showed it had grown its earnings to £121m for the six months to June 30 – up from £70m in the same period of 2016.
However, the company also reported a pre-tax loss of £83m, compared with a pre-tax profit of £184m the previous year.
Mr Koss said: “Profits are up to £121m, which is a £51m improvement on the same period last year.
“That is down to things. Firstly, the acquisition of Opus Energy, which is performing very well, and secondly it is down to the strong performance of our biomass units, with just over two thirds of our electricity now being powered by renewables.
“Renewables is what is keeping the business alive today. If we had not moved from coal to biomass, I think we would be in a very different position.”
Dorothy Thompson, chief Executive of Drax Group plc, said the company had made “good progress” with its strategy during the first half of 2017.
She said: “Central to our strategy is the delivery of targeted growth through deploying our expertise across our markets and, in so doing, diversifying, growing and improving the quality of earnings whilst reducing exposure to commodity market volatility.
“Delivering reliable renewable electricity remains at the heart of our business. We continue to produce at record levels, helping to keep the UK’s electricity system secure and supplying our customers through our retail business.
"With the right conditions, we can do even more. We are progressing our four new rapid response gas power projects and our research and innovation work has identified potentially attractive options to repurpose our remaining coal assets.
“We continue to play a vital role in the UK's energy infrastructure and our strategy is helping to change the way energy is generated, supplied and used for a better future.”