Drax Power Station
Image Source: shirokazan
The findings were unveiled in analysis from Oxford Economics
Richard Bell

New data sheds light on Drax Group’s £609m Northern Powerhouse impact

Energy firm Drax Group contributed nearly £1.6bn towards the UK GDP in 2017, according to new data.

The figure includes £609m generated across the Northern Powerhouse region, up from £577m the year previous, along with 5,700 jobs throughout the North East, Yorkshire & Humber and the North West.

The findings were unveiled in analysis from Oxford Economics that looked at the impact of Drax’s UK operation, which includes Drax power station in Selby.

The facility employs around 900 people and is the UK’s largest power station. Four of its six generating units have been converted to use compressed wood pellets, generating 15% of the country’s renewable electricity in 2017.

Oxford Economics researchers used three measures to calculate Drax’s GDP contribution – economic activity associated with its day-to-day running; activity created by the purchase of goods and services from suppliers; and wages of employees and supplier employees spent in their areas.

Since transforming to use biomass instead of coal, Drax power station has become Europe’s largest decarbonisation project.

The conversion of the fourth generating unit helped the UK as a whole reach another green milestone this year, when power-generating capacity available from renewables outstripped fossil fuels for the first time.

Drax is also embarking on a bioenergy carbon capture and storage pilot project that it says is the first of its kind in Europe. Using tech developed by Leeds University spinout C-Capture, it could enable power produced at Drax to become carbon negative – meaning it actually reduces carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere.

Drax Power CEO Andy Koss said: “This new report shows that as well as being of major significance nationally as the country’s biggest renewable power generator, Drax Power Station continues to play a crucial role in supporting the northern economy.

“Thanks to a sophisticated supply chain that spans both the east and west coasts of the country, Drax supported almost 6,000 jobs across the North of England last year and generated £600m in economic activity.”

He continued: “We work with hundreds of businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region to ensure millions of UK homes and businesses have the power they need each day.

“The North of England has a rich heritage in providing energy to the rest of the UK. Drax continues to play a vital role in providing the country with flexible, low carbon generation, to support the system as it continues to decarbonise. Our strategy for moving beyond coal, is enabling us to preserve the life of the power station, protect jobs and ensure we continue to make an important contribution to the region’s economy.”

Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, commented: “Drax is a key economic asset both in Selby and nationwide. As the country’s single largest generator of renewable electricity, the business is a key part of the local community and supports employment and skills in the region.

“Drax has a rich history but has been keen to look to the future and further ways in which it can continue to innovate, enriching our community.”

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