Drax is considering options for repowering existing coal-fired generation with gas and the construction of up to 200 MW of energy storage capacity.
The UK generator says that it could create up to 3.6 GW of gas-fired capacity at the Drax power station site in northern England as well as a battery facility that would be the largest of its kind in the world.
The projects would be subject to a positive final investment decision and would require a capacity market contract in order to proceed, Drax said.
If developed, new gas-fired and battery storage capacity would increase Drax’s ability to provide flexible generation and grid support services to the UK’s grid. It is also a step forward in Drax’s strategy “to play a vital role in changing the way energy is generated as the UK moves towards a low carbon future,” Drax said in a statement.
Drax’s six coal units in Yorkshire constitute one of the largest coal-fired power plants in Europe. The firm has already converted three units to burn biomass and is considering converting a fourth.
The plant’s remaining two units could be converted to fire natural gas, creating 3.6 GW of flexible capacity.
“Drax power station is a national asset and a significant driver of economic growth in the North of England,” said Andy Koss, CEO of Drax Power. “These options could repurpose up to two of our coal assets and extend their operation into the 2030s.”
Koss added: “We are at the start of the planning process but if developed these options for gas and battery storage show how Drax could upgrade our existing infrastructure to provide capacity, stability and essential grid services, as we do with biomass. This would … help to deliver government’s commitment to remove coal from the UK grid.”