Britain's Drax abandons gas plant plans in climate push

by Reuters
Thursday, 25 February 2021 08:12 GMT

Drax power station is pictured during the sunset in Drax, North Yorkshire, Britain, November 27, 2020. REUTERS/Lee Smith

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Drax plans to become a carbon-negative company by 2030, and says developing new gas plants to replace coal no longer fits with that strategy

(Updates throughout, recasts on gas plant plans)

By Susanna Twidale

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - British power generator Drax has abandoned plans for new gas-fired power plants to replace its existing coal units as it strives to become carbon negative by 2030, the company said on Thursday.

Britain is aiming to close all coal-fired power plants by 2024 as part of its efforts to meet its climate target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Drax has already converted four of its six coal units to use sustainable biomass. The remaining units are set to close by the end of March 2021.

The company had previously said it could replace the remaining units with gas plants.

"The future of gas power generation fuel is getting shorter all the time," Drax Group Chief Executive Will Gardiner said on a call with journalists when explaining the decision.

Drax plans to become a carbon negative company by 2030, using technology it is developing to capture, store and use emissions from the biomass plants.

Developing new gas plants would not fit with this strategy, Gardiner said.

He was speaking as the company announced its 2020 results where the company reported a 235 million pound ($332.4 million) loss before tax, after taking a 60 million pound hit due to the coronavirus.

Drax said the pandemic-related loss came mainly from its customer business, which sells power, gas and energy services to small to medium-sized companies.

($1 = 0.7071 pounds) (Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Jan Harvey and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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