The UK government on 30 March confirmed its commitment to supporting the deployment of large-scale BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) for power projects by 2030. It confirmed that the Drax Power Station BECCS project has passed the deliverability assessment for the Power BECCS project submission process.
Drax has been invited to enter formal bilateral discussions with the government immediately, to move the project forward and help ensure that the government is able to fulfil its restated commitment to achieving 5Mtpa of engineered greenhouse gas removals (GGRs) by 2030.
Drax maintains that BECCS at Drax Power Station is the only project that can enable this goal to be achieved. The government has also committed to publish its biomass strategy by the end of June 2023 which will set out how the technology could be deployed.
During 2022 carbon removal projects, including Power BECCS, were progressed in parallel with the Track 1 process for gas, hydrogen and industrial CCS projects. While Power BECCS and other shortlisted projects are not included in the immediate Track 1 process, the government has confirmed that in 2023 it will set out a process for the expansion of Track 1 and has launched Track 2. BECCS is eligible for both.
Separately, the government has stated that it will work closely with electricity generators currently using biomass to facilitate a transition to Power BECCS, and has confirmed that its response to the Power BECCS business model consultation, which took place in 2022, will be published very soon, providing further clarity on the delivery of BECCS as soon as possible.
Drax Group CEO, Will Gardiner said: “With the right engagement from government and swift decision making, Drax stands ready to progress [its] £2bn investment programme and deliver this critical project for the UK by 2030.”
The UK government aims to deploy 5 Mtpa of engineered CO2 removals via BECCS and other engineered GGR technologies by 2030, rising to 23 Mt in 2035 and up to 81 Mt in 2050 to keep the UK on a pathway to meet its legislated climate targets, The Sixth Carbon Budget and net zero.
Drax expects to close its two legacy coal units at the end of March 2023.
Agreement on ‘renewable’ status of wood biomass
A provisional agreement has been reached by the European Parliament and the Council in the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII), and it shows continued support for sustainable biomass, recognising its role in energy systems and forest management. The Directive will continue to class sustainably sourced woody biomass as a 100% renewable energy source in the EU.
Drax Group welcomed the updated Directive, which reaffirms sustainably sourced biomass as a 100 % renewable energy source, and includes provisions to ensure that biomass goes to the highest value application, including Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS).
Image: The Drax BECCS plant