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Consent awarded to redevelop Yorkshire power station

Words: Laura Edgar
Drax-CCGT-1-unit-1800MW-battery-200MW / Drax Power

Energy secretary Andrea Leadsom has granted a development consent order for the modification of coal-fired generating units to gas-powered ones at Drax Power Station, Selby.

An inspector recommended that the secretary of state refuse consent for the development due to its "failure to deliver carbon reduction objectives".

Drax Power Limited said the project could enable Drax to deliver “more reliable and flexible, high-efficiency” electricity generation and help the UK to transition to net zero-carbon emissions by 2050.

The project was considered under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) regime.

The application was for the flexibility to either repower one coal-fired unit with 1,800 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity and a 100 MW battery storage capacity, or to repower two units that would each have 1,800 MW of generating capacity, together with their own separate 100 MW battery storage capacity.

Either unit 5, 6 or both will be updated with new gas turbines that can operate in combined-cycle and open-cycle modes. Existing infrastructure used for the coal-fired units, such as the steam turbine and cooling towers, would be “reutilised” for the new units.

Drax Power submitted the application to the Planning Inspectorate in May 2018 and a recommendation was sent to the secretary of state on 4 July this year.

The firm explained that it must secure a capacity market agreement to underpin the investment needed to develop the first combined-cycle generating unit.

If all goes to plan, 1.8GW of new capacity would be available at Drax Power Station from October 2023.

The decision letter and all other documents relating to the project can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website.

Image credit | Drax Power Limited