Today’s decision by the European Commission to approve support for the conversion of a unit at Drax Power Station in Yorkshire from coal to biomass has been welcomed by the local Conservative MEP.
In January the EC launched a state aid investigation into UK Government plans to support the conversion with a subsidy for every megawatt-hour of biomass energy the unit produces until 2027.
It has now concluded that the project’s contribution to increasing the amount of renewable energy generated in Britain outweighs any potential market distortion caused by the subsidy.
Yorkshire and Humber Conservative MEP Amjad Bashir, who has campaigned in support of the Drax scheme, said the decision would secure the 4,500 jobs across the Yorkshire and Humber supported by Drax and its wood pellet supply chain.
“This announcement is hugely welcome, if a long time coming,” he said.
“I had every confidence in the Government’s forward thinking planned investment, which was designed with great care so as not to unduly distort the energy market.
Drax and its employees can now look forward to an exciting future. Half the plant will be running on biomass, the most efficient form of renewable energy, positioning it as a world leader in the field. It will also make a major contribution to the UK’s climate change targets.”
Two of the six generating units at Drax have already been converted to burning wood pellets and the power station generated 20% of the UK’s renewable output last year – the country’s single largest source of renewable power.