London – The Government has published its final decisions on support levels for the various renewable technologies under the Renewables Obligation (RO), which will come into effect from April 2013. Under the scheme, 1.0 ROC/MWh will be awarded for generating units that are fully converted to burn biomass.
The support levels for electricity generated from sustainable biomass at existing fossil fuelled power stations will be provided on an individual generating unit-by-unit basis, and not, as previously proposed, on a power station-wide basis.
Lower but graduated support will be available for units burning biomass but not fully converted, noted coal-fired power company Drax. The support levels for fully converted units will be grandfathered.
The level of support for biomass confirms “the strategically important role that electricity generated from sustainably-sourced biomass can play in the UK renewable energy mix,” said Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax.
In recent unit combustion trials at Drax, a single generating unit operated successfully on a fully converted basis for a sustained period, reported the company which added that the trial results “confirm we can fully convert Drax units to burn biomass.”
Based on this technical progress and the Government’s conclusions on support levels, the company is now confident that it can transform into a predominantly biomass fuelled generator.
“Initially we expect to convert three of our six generating units<” said Thompson – though noting that it will take some time to develop all of the sustainable biomass supply chain to fuel these units
But we believe that within approximately five years Drax could become a predominantly biomass fuelled plant,” she said. “We are currently refining our previously announced £650 million to £700 million strategic capital investment plan, but remain confident of the overall scale.
“We will continue to work with Government and Ofgem on the design of practical and efficient regulations for the implementation of these decisions.
“This transformation will be achieved through major capital investments at Drax and across the supply chain, securing significant numbers of jobs, primarily in the North East.”