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    UK Drax Wins Right to Build CCGT

Summary

But there is some way to go before a final investment decision may be taken.

by: William Powell

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UK Drax Wins Right to Build CCGT

UK generator Drax has seen off a legal challenge from Client Earth, meaning it may proceed with plans to build a 3.6-GW combined-cycle gas turbine in Yorkshire, it said January 21. ClientEarth has confirmed that it is not appealing to the Supreme Court.

A Drax spokesperson said: "Drax's world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using ground-breaking bioenergy with carbon capture and storage technology, means we could remove up to 16mn metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, making a significant contribution to achieving the UK's climate targets. Drax Power Station plays a vital role in the UK's energy system, generating reliable electricity for millions of homes and businesses."

But the development of new, high-efficiency gas power at Drax is subject to a number of investment decisions and the project securing a capacity market agreement, whereby it is paid for availability of capacity.

According to Client Earth, the UK government estimated that the UK would need just 6 GW of new gas generation to 2035 but has already approved 15 GW-worth of large-scale gas plants. Approving Drax’s project took total planned gas capacity to 18 GW – three times the government’s estimates of what was needed, Client Earth said.

However not all of this has had final investment decision and some gas-fired generators have gone into receivership. Very high prices have been paid for gas-fired generation this winter as there has been very little wind and no slack in the system. As well as requesting contracting plants to increase their output, the grid operator can also request major users who have demand side response agreements to turn down their power demand to balance the system.