Drax reports progress with its biomass strategy

By Erin Voegele | April 21, 2021

Drax Group plc released a first quarter trading update on April 21, discussing the company’s progress with its biomass strategy, including the acquisition of Pinnacle Renewable Energy, the end of commercial coal generation, and the sale of gas generation assets.

"In the first quarter of 2021 we delivered a robust trading and operational performance, alongside steps to further decarbonize the business and support our flexible and renewable generation strategy,” said Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax. “These include the end of commercial coal generation, the sale of our gas power stations and just last week we acquired leading Canadian biomass producer Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.

"The acquisition of Pinnacle positions Drax as the world's leading sustainable biomass generation and supply business,” Gardiner added. “This advances our strategy to increase self-supply, reduce our own cost of biomass production and create a long-term future for sustainable bioenergy, which will pave the way for the development of negative emissions from bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). BECCS at Drax would make a significant contribution to the U.K. reaching its new target to cut carbon emissions by 78 percent by 2035."  

Drax reported that its pellet production operations performed well during the first quarter, and cost reduction plans remain on track. The acquisition of Pinnacle was completed on April 13, more than doubling Drax’s pellet production capacity. The company is expected to have access to 4.9 million metric tons of operational pellet production capacity starting in 2022. Approximately 2.9 metric tons of that capacity will be available for Drax’s self-supply in 2022, increasing to 3.4 million metric tons in 2027.

This summer, Drax is scheduled to perform planned maintenance on its Contract for Difference (CfD) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency.

A full copy of the first quarter update can be downloaded from the Drax website