The government has asked Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to work with National Grid to temporarily extend the life of its coal-generating assets until March 2023.
This is in response to increased pressure in European gas markets and fears over the security of electricity supply in the UK this winter.
Drax says it has now reached an agreement with National Grid which means its two coal-fired units will remain available to provide “emergency winter” service to the UK power system from October 2022 until the end of March 2023.
The units will not produce commercial output during the term of the agreement and will only operate if and when requested by National Grid.
Drax will receive a fee for the service and will be compensated for the costs incurred.
Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said: “At the request of the UK government, Drax has agreed to delay the planned closure of its two coal-fired units and help boost UK energy security this winter.
“Drax has played a central role in ensuring Britain’s energy security for several decades and our staff are proud to provide this essential support to Britain’s energy system.
“Drax is the UK’s largest renewable energy producer, producing enough reliable, renewable electricity for five million homes from our sustainable biomass and hydropower operations and we remain committed to delivering a zero future. coal.
“The UK’s long-term energy security depends on investing in innovative green technologies such as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), which provides reliable, renewable energy while continuously removing CO2of the atmosphere.
“Drax aims to invest billions of pounds in the development of BECCS in the UK by 2030, provided the UK government has policies in place to support the feasibility and supply of negative emissions technologies, which ‘he’s committed to developing this year.”
Drax ended commercial operations on its two remaining coal-fired generating units in March 2021, and official closure was scheduled for September 2022, following the Group’s compliance with the capacity market obligations on these units.
It says a limited six-month extension to March 2023 is not expected to result in a significant level of coal production.