power giant Drax has submitted planning permission for what would be the world’s
largest battery storage facility, and an equally ambitious gas-fired power plant facility,
as it continues its retreat from coal-fired power.
The company wants has already converted three of its six coal-fired units in North Yorkshire to biomass, in its attempts to adapt to the UK’s phase out of coal by 2025.
It said on Wednesday that it was considering building up to 200 MW of battery storage at the site, double the size of the current largest, the under-construction 100 MW Tesla facility in Australia.
In addition, the company wants to convert two of its remaining three coal units to gas. It would create up to 3.6 GW of gas power capacity, making it comfortably the largest gas plant in Britain, ahead of the 2.2 GW gas plant in Pembrokeshire.
Drax is now seeking a “development consent order” from the UK’s Planning Inspectorate, a process it believes could take up to two years. A decision to go ahead with the project would then rely on the company winning a 15-year subsidy contract with the government. If it did decide to proceed, it envisages both facilities could be up and running by 2023.
A spokeswoman for the group told the Financial Times that both the gas and battery storage capacity figures in the planning application were a maximum size and the projects could turn out to be smaller.
Drax said its plans would provide the sort of “flexible generation and grid support services Britain’s electricity system will need” as coal and ageing nuclear plants are decommissioned.
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