Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The British Drax biomass plan has received a substantial setback. The Drax project is a plan to “save” the environment by chopping down vast tracts of forest in the USA and Canada, shipping the wood to Britain, and burning it in a modified coal plant. But the government subsidies Drax negotiated to make this scheme profitable, have attracted negative attention from European regulators.
According to The Telegraph;
Blow to Drax biomass plan as EC launches state aid investigation
European Commission raises concerns that proposed subsidies for biomass conversion may be too generous.
Drax’s hopes of securing lucrative subsidies for its biomass conservion have suffered a setback after the European Commission launched a full state aid investigation over concerns the payments may be too generous.
The Yorkshire-based power plant is in the process of switching from burning coal to biomass, and was awarded a £1.7bn Government subsidy contract in April 2014 for the third of its six units – subject to state aid approval.
The contract would see Drax paid a fixed price of £105 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of biomass-fired power the unit generated until 2027 – well over double the current market price.
Drax shares fell 5pc on Tuesday after the European Commission said it was concerned that the rate of return from the subsidies “could be higher than the parties estimate and could lead to overcompensation”.
Even green news outlets like The Ecologist have condemned the Drax scheme as being damaging to the environment. I suspect this attack by the über green European Commission, against the increasingly unpopular Drax project, might end up being the final blow to this bizarre plan to “save” nature by chopping down the trees.