Green Subsidy Cut Makes Largest Coal Power Plant in Western Europe Give Up on Carbon Capture

By James O Malley on at

We already know that the world isn't doing enough to tackle climate change, so it is a bit depressing today to hear the news that the Drax Group, which operates the largest coal-fired power station in Western Europe, in North Yorkshire, has decided to ditch its carbon capture project after the government changed its policy.

According to the Financial Times the government's decision to cut green subsidies means that the company will no abandon its plans to build a carbon capture and storage system next to its power station - despite five years of planning.

Dubbed project "White Rose", the plan had been take £1bn of government cash that would have been able to built a plant capable of generating electricity by burning coal or biomass, but then have the plant capture 2 million tonnes of CO2 - or 90% of emissions - and pipe them out into the North Sea for permanent undersea storage. So not the perfect green solution, but better than what currently exists.

Drax's Chief Executive Dororthy Thompson told the BBC that, "The most recent effect has been the government has removed a tax exemption for renewable power that is sold to industrial companies and we're the largest generator of renewable power in the UK and this has suddenly removed a stream of income.

"The day it was announced our share price dropped by a third and that simply reduces the amount of cash we have available for future investments."

In other words, the future is still looking pretty bleak. [Financial Times and BBC]