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Drax facing legal action over plans for large scale gas turbine project

Power News - Published on Wed, 14 Nov 2018

Image Source: The Guardian
Power company Drax is facing legal action over plans to open a four-turbine gas generation facility at its Selby power plant in Yorkshire, with environmental law firm ClientEarth claiming that the project breaches the Government's planning and climate change policies. Drax recently applied for planning permission to convert two coal-fired units at the plant into four combined cycle gas turbines in a bid to increase the facility’s generation capacity – a move it claims will help it to stop using coal by 2023.

However, ClientEarth has submitted a written objection claiming that the project, called Repower, would “risk locking in high-carbon energy onto the grid until 2050” and “significantly” increase Drax’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The law firm, which is known for having taken the UK Government to court over its air quality policies, claims that the approval of Drax’s plans would push the total amount of extra gas capacity installed in the UK since 2017 to 18GW. It claims that since the Government recommended that just 6GW of new gas generation projects should be brought online by 2035, 15GW has already been added by other energy companies.

ClientEarth’s climate accountability lawyer Sam Hunter-Jones said that “Approving this new gas capacity risks either throwing the UK’s decarbonisation off course or locking in redundant infrastructure resulting in significant environmental impacts and costs to the taxpayer. If major energy projects - such as this from Drax - are granted planning consent, the UK will risk carbon lock-in that would seriously undermine its ability to meet its climate change commitments.”

In its objection, ClientEarth additionally cites the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) 2016 recommendation that the UK grid should be free from gas by 2030, if the UK is to meet its Paris Agreement targets.

The law firm has recommended that Drax invest in further carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects as an alternative to the gas turbines, after the company introduced the first bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) project in Europe earlier this year.

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Posted By : Ratan Singh on Wed, 14 Nov 2018
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