North Yorkshire power plant Drax drops gas turbine plan

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image copyrightPA Media
image captionDrax will phase out coal burning at its Selby site next month

Plans to build Europe's biggest gas-fired electricity plant in North Yorkshire have been dropped.

Energy company Drax said it would no longer install two gas turbines at its site near Selby.

The plan was opposed by environmental groups, who unsuccessfully challenged the government's decision to approve the scheme in court.

Drax said it would instead burn wood pellets to generate electricity when it phases out coal in March.

The company announced on 8 February it would buy biomass producer Pinnacle Renewable Energy for £226m, but faced criticism when it emerged the company burns natural gas to produce its wood pellets.

Drax chief executive Will Gardiner said the proposed acquisition would "position Drax as the world's leading sustainable biomass generation and supply business, paving the way for us to develop bioenergy with carbon capture and storage taking us even further in our decarbonisation".

Abandoning gas generation plans will cost the company £13m.

'Right investment'

The plant began to burn biomass mixed with coal in 2003.

It was given planning approval for the two gas burners in 2019, a decision unsuccessfully challenged in the High Court by environmental group ClientEarth.

Catharina Hillenbrand Von Der Neyen, from independent think tank Carbon Tracker, said shelving the plans was "the right investment decision".

"This clearly underlines how power companies are waking up to the reality of the unfavourable economics of new gas plants," she said.

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