In its first half 2022 performance figures Drax Group has reported strong financial performance, and developments in its investment in renewables.

Adjusted EBITDA of £225 million was up 21% compared to H1 2021 (£186 m) accompanied by strong liquidity and balance sheet – £539 million of cash and committed facilities as of 30 June 2022.

Will Gardiner, Drax CEO, commented in his presentation to shareholders: “We are accelerating our investment in renewable generation, having recently submitted planning applications for the development of BECCS [bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration] at Drax power station and for the expansion of Cruachan Pumped Storage power station.

“We have commissioned new biomass pellet production plants in the US South and expect to take a final investment decision on up to 500 000 tonnes of additional capacity before the end of the year … we are also making very encouraging progress towards delivering BECCS in North America and progressing with site selection, government engagement and technology development.

“In the UK and US we have plans to invest £3 billion in renewables.”

The Group aims to increase its wood pellet production capacity to 8 million tonnes a year by 2030 from 5 million tonnes a year currently, and it is expanding its biomass sales operations into Japan with the opening in July of a new office in Tokyo, all part of its ambition to increase sustainable biomass sales to support decarbonisation in Asia.

Plans were submitted in May by Drax that will double generating capacity at its Cruachan pumped storage facility in Scotland. The company has submitted its application for planning consent to build a new 600 MW underground pumped storage hydro power station inside Ben Cruachan, the highest mountain in the area. 

The new station, which would increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04 GW, could be operational as soon as 2030 with construction work getting underway in 2024, removing around 2 million tonnes of rock from inside Ben Cruachan – and creating hundreds of jobs across Scotland. The development would be the first newly constructed plant of its kind in the UK in more than 40 years.