(Montel) UK independent generator Drax’s plans to build a 3.6 GW gas plant in northeast England would breach government planning and climate change recommendations, environmental group ClientEarth said on Monday.
Drax’s plans to convert two coal-fired units at its Selby power plant in northern England, to four combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT), will nearly treble the units’ generation capacity.
The government estimates the UK will need 6 GW of new gas generation through to 2035.
“High carbon energy”
ClientEarth had submitted a written objection to the generator’s plans, noting “if approved [it] will risk locking in ‘high carbon’ energy on the grid until 2050”.
The group’s intervention also comes a month after the release of a UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stating Europe must toughen its 2030 climate goals to help keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C.
“The UK government claims to be a climate leader, yet 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,” said ClientEarth lawyer Sam Hunter Jones.
Drax, once the UK’s largest producer of coal-fired generation, has converted four of its six 645 MW units to biomass over the past five years.
The UK government plans to phase out all unabated coal-fired generation capacity by 2025.