Drax has signed up contractor Shepherd for biomass-related construction works at the Drax power station site near Selby.
Drax has announced plans to invest £50m this year in new biomass storage and handling facilities and other plant modifications. Shepherd will be working on delivering the capability to produce up to 20% of the power station’s output from sustainable biomass fuels.
Drax would like to go further to transform Drax into a predominantly biomass fuelled generator but only if it gets more subsidy from taxpayers.
In October 2011 the government announced its proposals for the future subsidy levels for renewable technologies. Drax welcomed the creation of a new band for ‘enhanced co-firing’, but wants more subsidy “to maximise the full potential of Drax” to produce this form power.
Increasing the power station’s biomass co-firing capability to 20% of output will ensure that Drax qualifies for increased support under the new proposals. Any further investment depends on it getting the “appropriate regulatory support”, it said. The government aims to publish its response to the consultation on future support levels in the spring and legislate in the summer.
Drax chief executive Dorothy Thompson, said: “Drax is ready to transform itself into a predominantly biomass fuelled generator, but to do so we need appropriate regulatory support, and to that end we look forward to the timely conclusion of the government’s current review of the future support levels for renewable technologies.”
Mark Perkins, chief executive of Shepherd’s built environment division, said: “We are delighted to be working with Drax. Shepherd Group’s designers have worked closely with the Drax team to develop integrated technical solutions that will create world leading biomass facilities and support Drax’s intention to become a lower carbon generator.
“The project will also generate wider opportunities for local people in terms of employment and skills training, and we will be maximising opportunities for local businesses, working closely with our supply chain partners throughout the build.”