Oops. No More Subsidies for Drax

The Guardian reports:

Drax dropped from index of green energy firms amid biomass doubts

Doubts over sustainability of company’s wood-burning power plant mount within financial sector

Drax has been booted from an investment index of clean energy companies as doubts over the sustainability of its wood-burning power plant begin to mount within the financial sector.

The FTSE 100 energy giant, which has received billions in renewable energy subsidies for its biomass electricity, was axed from the index of the world’s greenest energy companies after S&P Global Dow Jones changed its methodology.

The exit from the S&P Global Clean Energy Index is a blow to Drax, which has vowed to become the world’s first “carbon-negative” energy company by the end of the decade.

It comes amid growing scepticism about its green credentials after the financial services firm Jefferies told its clients this week that bioenergy was “unlikely to make a positive contribution” towards tackling the climate crisis.

Drax was once one of the largest coal power generators in Europe before it converted four of the generating units at its North Yorkshire site to burn biomass instead. It received more than £800m in government subsidies and tax breaks to support the conversion last year, and could expect billions more in the future.

The article goes on to explain the issues, how Drax ships 2/3rds of its fuel across the Atlantic from the United States and how this carbon accounting juggling act no longer fools decision makers.

Of course the quotes near the end of the article are priceless.

A government spokesperson declined to comment.

A Drax spokesperson said its biomass “meets the highest sustainability standards” and that the “science underpinning carbon accounting for bioenergy” was “crystal clear”.

Read the full article here.

HT/roaddog

4.7 18 votes
Article Rating
104 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
November 5, 2021 10:15 pm

What was from the start, a clearly very stupid idea, has now been exposed by the passage of time to be exactly that ….Very Stupid. Burning trees that use CO2 to expel even more CO2 never made any sense at all. It was almost as stupid as believing that 4% extraCO2 would have any effects other than good ones.

Anon
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
November 6, 2021 11:39 am

That is always how it happens, isn’t it (sigh):

Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe.
A decade ago, the U.S. mandated the use of vegetable oil in biofuels, leading to industrial-scale deforestation — and a huge spike in carbon emissions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/magazine/palm-oil-borneo-climate-catastrophe.html

There are simply no downsides for anyone, so maybe it isn’t so stupid. Corporations love it, obviously, and so do the Environmental NGOs. They get to raise money in support of new world saving technology and then raise money to dismantle it when the damage is revealed. I call it Promote & Protest NGO fundraising model. And thankfully the environment activist community isn’t into critical thinking, but will just follow the science of the day.

Last edited 2 months ago by Anon
Zig Zag Wanderer
November 5, 2021 10:15 pm

It received more than £800m in government subsidies and tax breaks to support the conversion last year, and could expect billions more in the future.

And people still wonder why every ‘woke’ country is going broke?

November 5, 2021 10:31 pm

Looks like they might have finally realised that the Emperor has no clothes after all. Why did it take so long?

Hopefully this will discourage other generators from trying to pull this charade.

Alexy Scherbakoff
November 5, 2021 10:51 pm

How any of that farce passed the sniff test is beyond me.

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
November 6, 2021 1:19 am

Because the EU said it was renewable, and we all know know corrupt the EU(SSR) is.

Bryan A
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
November 6, 2021 9:10 am

About as corrupt as Biden’s USSA is becoming under the pressure exerted by AOC and her ultra-liberal ilk and their GND

Kenji
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
November 6, 2021 5:21 am

Clear cut N. American forests, ship it across the Atlantic Ocean and burn it … yeah … doesn’t that just scream “green”?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Kenji
November 6, 2021 5:59 am

The forests are NOT CLEAR CUT to produce chips- the chipping of “junk wood” is all about chipping trees of no other value- in order to regenerate the forest to produce more high quality wood so you all can live in nice wood homes with wood furniture and nice paper products, like toilet paper. Forests need to be thinned, like your garden. Much of the wood for chips comes from these thinning projects. What most of you fail to realize is that the “greens” truly hate woody biomass for the same reason they hate fossil fuels- carbon emissions, but at least with good forestry, the landscape recaptures the carbon- so, the forests are not a source, but a sink- most, over time will build up carbon, while producing wood products.

Fred Middleton
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 6:55 am

Thinning in a raw – naked form is very expensive except on flat ground. US Forest Service (mostly steep western ground that has market Conifer is expensive to harvest. USFS had achieved pre – sky is falling, West of the Rocky Mountains, Sustained Yield at 55% that would perpetuate itself into – ever. Yield Harvest +/- 40-60 year cycle. This ‘yield’ harvest had work/harvest attachments that enhanced natural decomposition/rotting, reduced ladder fuels inside the harvest contracts, and some nearby stack/chip/removal of bug kill. The end result if flown over, would like like a patch quilt concept. Fires through a recent harvest area would allow unwanted fire to drop to the ground – thus manageable. Helicopter logging allowed – although very expensive, steep deep terrain logging- unstainable long term on large scale. US FS harvesting at 55% was politically terminated. Dixie Fire in California 2021 may or may not have been as large if 55% yield had been in play for the previous 20 years. Place in New Mexico 10 yr ago while driving-sightseeing up slope/hill passed a USFS sign “entering national forest”. Drove another 5 miles before the first scrub conifer appeared. Product of 1896 snfu. The 2021 Western fires a collective effort to be natural. My experience in California, Clear Cut has been to remove invasive non commercial conifer brush and hardwood. 40-100 Acres at a time. Very expensive. Timber fire fighting has proven pre-fire needs. 1. Intimate knowledge 2. Fuel 3. Terrain (primary in mechanized fire fighting/safety). Anything else is moving magnets around on a wall board. USFS – 193 Million Acres.

meab
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 8:12 am

Are the ships that transport wood from North America to GB powered by wood burning?

Bryan A
Reply to  meab
November 6, 2021 9:16 am

They need to be Wind Powered and haul the wood on attached barges

Peter Barrett
Reply to  meab
November 6, 2021 12:07 pm

Triremes manned by green volunteers, I am told.

Bryan A
Reply to  Peter Barrett
November 6, 2021 3:35 pm

Green volunteers assigned by Green Reeducation Camps

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 9:10 am

“. . . the chipping of ‘junk wood’ is all about chipping trees of no other value – in order to regenerate the forest to produce more high quality wood . . . Forests need to be thinned, like your garden . . .”

So simplistic . . . so wrong.

All trees have value in the minerals (aka nutrients) that they have accumulated during their growth.

Forests do NOT “need to be thinned, like a garden” . . . the sustained growth/survival of the Amazon rain forests and the huge forests of the northwest US and Canada (consisting of a variety of species such as pine, fir, spruce, cedar, maple and large sections of massive trees such as giant redwoods and sequoias) for, oh, some hundreds of millions of years prior to the industrial revolution, have clearly shown that forests don’t need thinning by humans.

In fact, the soil in the Amazon rain forests is so lacking in basic nutrients that new growth is highly dependent on the rapid recycling of nutrients made available from the death and decay of fallen leaves and tree trunks. Logging and clear cutting the rain forests leads straightaway to the logged land be unable to support its previous variety and sizes of plants.

You might want to read:

“Why Is Rain Forest Soil So Poor After Trees Are Cut Down”, at https://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/rain-forest-soil-poor-trees-cut.php

and

“Repeated Logging Depletes Soil, Pushing Forests to Ecological Limits, Finds New Study”, at https://www.earthday.org/repeated-logging-depletes-soil-pushing-forests-to-ecological-limits-finds-new-study/

Last edited 2 months ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Bryan A
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 9:19 am

DRAX is not the answer. It cannot be scaled and duplicated to replace fossil fueled plants globally. 50 DRAX plants would deplete many forests within decades of operation

Bryan A
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 9:50 am

Forests contain an average of about 100 dry metric tonnes of wood per acre.
There are approx 2.47 acres per hectare and just over 4B hectares of forests globally (about 10B acres)
DRAX burns the 14M tonnes of wood to produce the 7.4M tonnes of pellets it. Consumes annually
1 DRAX facility requires 140,000 acres of Forested trees every year to produce electricity
Scaling DRAX up to just 100 plants would require 14M acres of “junk wood” be cleared annually. Green Trees would be harvested by necessity. Since it takes about 100 years for the forests to regrow you would need 1.4b acres devoted to pellet manufacturing to make 100 DRAX plants sustainable. That is 14% of the total global forested acreage.
It can’t be accomplished with “Junk Wood” alone.
It can’t be scaled to meaningful quantities to replace fossil sources
1000 global plants would require 140% of current global forests

And it still produces CO2 at a rate 1000 times faster than can be drawn up in regrowth

Last edited 2 months ago by Bryan A
Andrew Dickens
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 7, 2021 12:29 pm

They certainly fooled you.

Bryan A
Reply to  Kenji
November 6, 2021 9:14 am

They need to use Hand Saws, Masted Sailing Ships and Slave Drawn carts to deliver the wood then…
DRAX would STILL emit 40-100 years worth of sunk CO2 every year

AndyHce
November 5, 2021 11:08 pm

Was this article’s title intended to be a joke? Neither usefulness, cleanliness, nor truth have so far been a factor in determining subsidies to alternate energy projects.

Joao Martins
Reply to  AndyHce
November 6, 2021 5:09 am

You are right. As I have mentionned in a previous comment a few week ago, in the European Union it is all a matter of “taxonomy“. They discovered the word one or two years ago and started to do “taxonomic work”, as biologists do, and changing the “classification” of their different taxa (nuclear, natural gas, biomass, etc.). Now that the global warming is making harsh, cold winter everywhere, and renewable elecricity does not fulfill their fabricated expectations, nuclear has become green. But, as there is not enough wood to burn as “sustainable” and “renewable”, biomass burning went the opposite way and became evil…

You know, taxonomy (not science, physics, chemistry, etc.) is the key! It can be decided, without spending money in equipment and consumables, by a committee of “experts” sitting in an air-conditionned room!

Last edited 2 months ago by Joao Martins
Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Joao Martins
November 6, 2021 8:36 am

You describe using language as a weapon, corrupting it. The left cornered that market decades ago

Joao Martins
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
November 6, 2021 12:48 pm

Nnnn…ot realy language as a weapon… rather language as a tool to mystify people. Of course, to mystify the mystifiable, that is to say, those that are already in their church, and make them think that nothing has changed.

CWinNY
Reply to  AndyHce
November 6, 2021 9:07 am

There was someone commenting on this site preiously who tried to defend Drax as green because the CO2 would be reabsorbed by other trees. Ignoring the time needed for re-absorbtion (if you ignore the time scale, then wouldn’t burning coal be just as green? The CO2 from coal will also be reabsorbed by vegetation which in just a few million years and a little pressure will turn into more coal.

Adam Gallon
November 5, 2021 11:35 pm

Drax (Amusingly autocorrect changes it to Dracula!) will continue to receive its tax-payer & electricity bill payer subsidies.

DiggerUK
Reply to  Adam Gallon
November 6, 2021 4:17 am

Let’s settle with ‘Draxula’, it also rhymes with ‘Gretaxula’…_

Rusty
Reply to  Adam Gallon
November 6, 2021 7:52 am

£2.2m a day.

Rory Forbes
November 5, 2021 11:46 pm

Maybe it’s possible to convert the thing to coal burning and start paying back the subsidies … while saving a few million trees.

Graeme#4
Reply to  Rory Forbes
November 6, 2021 1:55 am

Recently at least one of its coal generators was fired up again to produce power.

John H
Reply to  Graeme#4
November 6, 2021 4:35 am

And was asking for £4000 per Mega watt hr and getting it 😉

Brian J. BAKER
Reply to  John H
November 6, 2021 10:51 am

I continue to be amazed at the level of arithmetic portrayed by the agw community. Here is another green proposal Scotland’s Wind Industry Clear-Fells 17,283 Acres & Wipes Out 14,000,000 Trees To ‘Save’ Planet – STOP THESE THINGS

Mark BLR
Reply to  Rory Forbes
November 6, 2021 5:24 am

Maybe it’s possible to convert the thing to coal burning …

2 of the 6 “units” at Drax are still coal-based.

From https://www.drax.com/investors/end-of-coal-generation-at-drax-power-station/ :

Under these proposals, commercial generation from coal will end in March 2021 but the two coal units will remain available to meet Capacity Market obligations until September 2022.

My understanding is that Drax got paid roughly £4000/MWh to fire up one (or both ?) of those units just last Tuesday (2/11/2021) under the terms of “The Capacity Market”, as the total “Wind (onshore + offshore)” contribution to the GB power grid went from ~330-345 GWh (over 24 hours / 48 “Settlement Periods”) on both 31/10 and 1/11 to ~70 GWh on 2/11.

NB : CCGT went from ~110 (on 31/10) to ~190 (1/11) to ~410 GWh over those 3 days, and the total “Coal” contribution on 2/11 was “only” ~20GWh.
Dispatchable electricity ? We’ve heard of it …”

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Mark BLR
November 6, 2021 10:00 am

Thanks for the information. Very interesting, but I was being sarcastic … suggesting that they convert the things to burning coal. I wasn’t aware there were already decommissioned coal burners already in place.

hermanmerivale
Reply to  Rory Forbes
November 6, 2021 1:24 pm

Drax is sited on one of Europes richest coal seams for a reason.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  hermanmerivale
November 6, 2021 2:23 pm

Thanks. Once again I realize why I frequent this blog. I learn so much useful information.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Rory Forbes
November 6, 2021 6:01 am

The trees WILL NOT BE SAVED- they are mostly trees removed for thinning the forest- so the better trees can grow into large, high value timber so y’all can live in nice wood homes, with nice wood furniture, and nice paper products, like toilet paper. Saving the trees is the motto of the craziest of the green climate wackos- so don’t joint them- forestry is an industry which produces great products INCLUDING energy products.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 9:56 am

I don’t need a snarky lecture about the lumber industry and the uses for wood. I worked in the industry, starting in ’62. and later as a building contractor of wooden homes. I’ve also built wooden boats and furniture. I’m guessing you’re not a native speaker or you might have caught my sarcasm. Saving the trees is the motto of anyone who believes that burning them as a source of heating to reduce CO2 is not a good idea (for a variety of reasons).

PCman999
November 5, 2021 11:52 pm

Would have made a lot more ‘environmental sense’ if they had continued to efficiently burn the local coal, and just planted more trees and shrubs, etc., in places that really needed them, like in the Sahel region that borders the Sahara.

Wood burning, even in an efficient plant like Drax is not going to be a efficient and clean as coal (there’s a lot of crap in wood) and it certainly doesn’t make sense shipping the wood pellets across the ocean in diesel/bunker fuel/LNG powered ships.

If they made wood powered ships, they would be probably empty by the time they reached England…

There should only be credits for new growth forests, and then they should be left in the ground – how is it ‘environmentally friendly’ to grow a forest for a few decades – while all the animals move in and get settled – and then chop it all down? And all the diesel powered log cutting machines inefficiently harvesting the wood (compared to a coal mining operation, say energy in/energy out – the logging machines are really cool, more like robots so don’t ‘flame me’ – I only mean inefficient in terms of energy production – great for furniture production).

Last edited 2 months ago by PCman999
Reply to  PCman999
November 6, 2021 12:29 am

Drax are a private consortium that bought the last big UK coal plant from British energy when they sold the nukes to EDF.

They are large – >4GW – and burnt mainly coal, but always with some other biomass – chopped straw if i remember, from farms and so on – as an adjunct.
Then along came the current war on coal, and they faced a stark choice, go green, or go out of business.

After consultation the government advised them that wood burning would count as green and they would get a massive subsidy if they went that way, so they spend a massive amount building wood handling, and then the government reneged on the high level subsidy, and gave them only a low level one. Fortunately for them energy prices rose enough to keep them clear of bankruptcy. Removal from the FTSE100 green company list is in my opinion nothing but good news, as that list is going to be toxic shortly. I certainly regard it as a list of companies whose long term future is assuredly liquidation.

As I have already said. I feel sorry for them. They are trying to run an energy company in a woke maelstrom of political idiocy. They are literally a major part of keeping Britain’s lights on.

As I said above, I hope they can do a deal with Rolls Royce and the government and convert to nuclear power.

Britain cannot afford to lose Drax. No matter what it burns.

PCman999
Reply to  Leo Smith
November 6, 2021 1:09 am

Well it looks like natural gas might be dis-excommunicated from the climate religion, and if a pardon can be obtained for fracking, then Drax could be powered with natural gas, a nice combined cycle plant, a jet engine and steam turbine in tandem both spinning the generators.

Though a supercritical coal fired plant would make the most sense for Drax and the UK.

Julian Flood
Reply to  PCman999
November 6, 2021 1:58 am

Commonsense. Has HMG noticed?

JF

Disputin
Reply to  Julian Flood
November 6, 2021 4:01 am

“Has HMG noticed?

What a silly question! If you accept Boris as the “face” of our “government”, you’re about 3 feet too high.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  PCman999
November 6, 2021 9:30 am

Conversion from coal/biomass to natural gas is a non-trivial exercise, likely to cost more, much more, than the conversion of 4 units from coal to wood.

I did work at a power plant in NJ. They were installing scrubbers so they could burn cheaper, high sulfur coal. At over US$ one billion, it was cheaper than converting the 2 boilers to natural gas.

Julian Flood
Reply to  Leo Smith
November 6, 2021 1:57 am

Leo, I’m beginning to think that it will require a major crisis to jolt our political and civil service classes into realising the dangers of our current energy policies. The next big windfarm is coming, 3.7MW of subsidised electricity that has a government given right for priority onto the Grid. Good luck being profitable during the times when winds fail.

Only when connection to the Grid is restricted to firms that guarantee a high capacity factor will this madness stop. But then those in the know, the troughers lurking like vultures behind our politicians, won’t be able to make a killing every time a continental high closes down the wind turbines from Norway to Morocco.

The OCGT at Ely is part of our emergency backup, STOR,and even coal. We must be close to a crash.

Farage has noticed. He’s going to make the energy crisis his next target. GB News needs your input.

JF

Julian Flood
Reply to  Julian Flood
November 6, 2021 2:08 am

Sorry, should be ‘until the winds fail.’ Only by getting ridiculous prices during wind droughts can conventional generators survive.

JF

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  PCman999
November 6, 2021 6:05 am

“There should only be credits for new growth forests, and then they should be left in the ground”
So, where will wood come from to build homes, make furniture and paper products like toilet paper? Only a lunatic climate catastrophe nut case would think forests should be left alone- in fact, that’s one of the pillars of the green religion- lock up all the forests. People here have no clue about forestry- in most forests, only some of the trees are good for timber, many are crooked, diseased, or of species not used by wood products companies- so THEY MUST BE REMOVED. Without a biomass market, they’ll just be cut down and BURNED IN HUGE PILES IN PLACE resulting in a great deal of real air pollution.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 8:25 am

Joseph, you know your profession well. Sensible, sustainable forest products companies and foresters look for ways to benefit from every tree, product and by-product. In that sense, burning certain (not all) biomass for energy has its place, but it is a niche source.

Since forests are geographically spread over large areas, economically recoverable energy is a challenge as the distances increase between material source and energy plant. My direct experience with California shows that as environmentalists succeed in shutting down the forest products industry, generating electricity from biomass becomes an increasingly difficult feat as buyers have to reach out to find anything that burns in order to “feed the beast.” The economics quickly falter and collapse.

Also, biomass suffers from the exact same issue as wind and solar power in the sense that the energy density (BTU/acre/year) is low, dependent on solar input. By all means make use of biomass waste to energy, but simple math shows that there just isn’t enough biomass potential (trees, corn, soy, switchgrass, algae, etc.) to provide a significant part of world energy demand. If government policy-makers were to even try, it would have devastating effects on biodiversity, water and air quality, food, feed and fiber supply, yet netting precious little energy.

November 6, 2021 12:16 am

I feel sorry for drax. They are an important part of the UK energy mix – vital in fact – and they have tried to jump through all the environmental hoops the idiot greens have set up.
Perhaps the only way forward will be to slap in ten Rolls Royce mini nukes in due course and leverage the boilers and steam turbines and generating sets.

H.R.
Reply to  Leo Smith
November 6, 2021 6:16 am

If Drax is smart, they’ll slap in the RR mini-nukes and just say they’re using wood chips.

What politician ever checks up on these things?

Rich Davis
Reply to  H.R.
November 6, 2021 9:05 am

No, no, H.R., you’re behind the times. Nukes are good now, wood chips are bad, gas is still ungood and coal remains double-plus ungood.

They need to say that they are converting their wood chips to nukes and then just burn coal.

H.R.
Reply to  Rich Davis
November 6, 2021 10:46 am

Same, same. What politician is going to check?
😜

saveenergy
Reply to  H.R.
November 6, 2021 11:57 am

What politician is going to know what they are looking at.!!

My local MP is so technically challenged they wouldn’t know the difference between a RR mini-nuke & a dustbin wit a radioactive sign painted on it.

James Snook
November 6, 2021 12:56 am

More than twenty enormous (for the UK) trains of special purpose wood ship wagons trundle across country from ports on the west and east coasts every week.
ALL HEADED BY DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES.

Drax is the biggest money making green con in Europe!

James Snook
Reply to  James Snook
November 6, 2021 12:57 am

Damn, ships= chips!

fretslider
Reply to  James Snook
November 6, 2021 1:46 am

But not cheap as chips

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  James Snook
November 6, 2021 2:13 am

As dictated to Drax by idiot greentards.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
November 6, 2021 6:08 am

NO the idiot greentards HATE WOODY BIOMASS- you folks have no *&^% clue- you need to read the propaganda of the greentards- THEY HATE BIOMASS- their goal is to LOCK UP THE FORESTS so you won’t have wood for homes, furniture and, yes, toilet paper. If I wasn’t so lazy in my old age, I’d post a major essay on WUWT. But if you want to see some good forestry- which includes SOME of the wood going to biomass chips, look at the Facebook page of another MA forester, Mike Leonard: https://www.facebook.com/pg/MikeLeonardConsultingForester/photos/?tab=albums

Rich Davis
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 9:45 am

Thanks for your contributions JZ, it’s only at WUWT that real debate is allowed on any topic.

Just like we won’t have plastics, asphalt, and a slew of other things that were originally products to make use of waste by-products of oil and gas production if the Brandon Administration succeeds in destroying the fossil fuel industry, it won’t be cost-effective to burn junk wood for biomass if forests are not first being harvested for lumber and pulp products.

I don’t think that your views are as different from most commenters as you think. I’m sure that most of us think burning junk wood is perfectly logical. The question is whether there is enough junk wood to supply an operation like Drax or if in fact they are chipping up trees that would have grown to be useful for lumber, then shipping the wood chips across the Atlantic burning foul bunker fuel and calling the process “Green” and “sustainable” and “carbon neutral” and “non-polluting”. It doesn’t appear to be any of those things.

Of course I don’t give a rat’s tail about whether it’s carbon neutral other than to expose their hypocritical lies and manipulation of absurd regulations. It wouldn’t particularly trouble me if forests were grown like vast corn fields and clear cut to produce biomass if that were to be an economical scheme (not based on subsidies).

A key point that you seem to miss is that Drax should be using whatever fuel can provide the lowest cost electricity. That is presumably the coal that it sits atop and had been using. It is only lunatic eco-religion that rationalizes using a much more costly fuel, and sophistry that pretends that there’s no carbon emission involved in harvesting, processing, and shipping the wood chips a quarter of the way around the world.

MikeHig
Reply to  Rich Davis
November 7, 2021 2:13 am

That comment: ” It wouldn’t particularly trouble me if forests were grown like vast corn fields” rang a bell.
Years ago the Scandinavian forest industry was a potential client and I always remember the reaction to the campaign to “save trees” by reducing the use of paper: you may as well tell people to eat less bread to save corn.

On the repeated comments about using waste, trimmings, etc, there have been programmes and articles on how forests are being clear-cut in the southern US to feed pellet plants. Photos of the pellet plants owned by Drax show huge stacks of long trunks. Indeed, it would be interesting to know what happens to all of the arisings from those clear-cuts.

Iain Reid
November 6, 2021 1:13 am

Drax has many positives as a generator, lots of stabilising inertia, it could be used for grid load balancing if required although it doesn’t seem to do that at the momentas I suppose it is maximising it’s income, and it is reliable
It is the only type of ‘green’ (mislabelled) geneartion that has those positives.

Jordan
Reply to  Iain Reid
November 6, 2021 5:24 am

Another big gain from Drax would be diversifying fuel supply to secure energy supply in the UK. That’s why Drax should not convert to gas (as it plans to do). The best way for Drax to diversify fuel supply is to keep burning coal (with appropriate flue gas clean-up of course).
If the UK relies too much on gas-fired power generation to balance wind and other intermittent sources, gas supply risk will be a single point of failure (referred to “common mode failure”), and security of supply will suffer.

Redge
November 6, 2021 1:15 am

FFS. how many years have we been saying exactly the same thing?

Julian Flood
Reply to  Redge
November 6, 2021 2:02 am

I told Matt Hancock years ago when he was Minister for Energy and Climate Change that he was playing Russian roulette with the Grid. His answer was more solar.

He didn’t even know that electricity has to be used as it’s produced or has to be stored, it doesn’t just hang around.

JF

Nick Graves
Reply to  Julian Flood
November 6, 2021 2:48 am

Thanks, Julian.

I often wonder if these polyingticiunts are actually evil or simply stupid.

Both…

Jordan
Reply to  Nick Graves
November 6, 2021 5:28 am

I would go with simply stupid every time. As somebody once said: “Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by stupidity”.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Jordan
November 6, 2021 9:35 am

I believe that the modifier “adequately” was used. Per Wiki:

Hanlon’s razor is an adage or rule of thumb that states “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity“.

I think we are well past “adequately” by now.

November 6, 2021 1:18 am

The UK government is useless and clueless (but so were its predecessors who let this happen – courtesy of the corrupt EUSSR).

IanE
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
November 6, 2021 6:46 am

“useless and clueless”: no, no, I can’t agree with this. They are MUCH worse than that!

Vincent Causey
November 6, 2021 1:19 am

Wait, we were told only fossil fuel companies receive subsidies.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Vincent Causey
November 6, 2021 2:16 am

And pay taxes? See the magic unicorns!

Julian Flood
November 6, 2021 1:39 am

YES!

JF

fretslider
November 6, 2021 1:42 am

For Sale

Can’t be far off

Jordan
Reply to  fretslider
November 6, 2021 5:39 am

The share price has risen quite sharply in the last couple of months. That’s logical as the dark spread has leapt up. The value of any coal-fired generating plant in the UK would have been zero before the present hike in power and gas prices. By now, investors must be starting to question whether it is realistic to close all those assets before 2025.
There must surely be bad news on the way, for those who believe there is secured income for those windfarms. The CfD and ROCs leave volume risk with the owners, and the story of the last summer was low wind generated power. If there was any belief that wind generation was secured revenue, the coming results season will probably bring a sorely needed dash of reality into those expectations.

Vuk
November 6, 2021 1:49 am

UK asks Qatar to become gas ‘supplier of last resort’
Gulf state diverts four LNG tankers to Britain as shortage in Europe exposes threat to country’s energy security

https://www.ft.com/content/06049722-2f62-4b29-b8e0-8f77fb29f08b

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Vuk
November 6, 2021 2:14 am

If only we had large reserves of easily accessible natural gas…

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
November 6, 2021 4:25 am

We do. Have you not heard of Fracking?

John H
Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
November 6, 2021 4:39 am

I took the … as Irony or sarc 😉

Bryan A
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
November 6, 2021 7:46 pm

If only your country cared about Fracking energy security

Peter Barrett
Reply to  Vuk
November 6, 2021 12:31 pm

How kind of them. I have not paid to breach the FT paywall, did anyone mention the price by any chance?

griff
November 6, 2021 2:11 am

Good news.

This needs to be shut down – it isn’t green or renewable.

Once again I thank Watts readers for joining with UK green groups in raising this issue.

fretslider
Reply to  griff
November 6, 2021 2:27 am

Revert it back to local coal

Reliable energy is in short supply

atticman
Reply to  fretslider
November 6, 2021 6:06 am

They quit using local coal because Australian was cheaper, despite having to be shipped halfway around the globe!

fretslider
Reply to  atticman
November 6, 2021 7:01 am

Back in the 80s we had the North Sea gas boom which came at the expense of the coalfields. Remember privatisation?

“If You see Sid…” as the famous advertising campaign said.

Coal was doomed in the UK long before global warming came along.

I was amused by your certainty that is it’s all about a basket case called Australia, though.

Rich Davis
Reply to  atticman
November 6, 2021 9:54 am

In which case, that was the right answer. If Georgian wood chips are cheaper than Aussie coal, then let them burn the wood chips.

The problem is that the decision is being made not on economics but on an irrational religious fanaticism.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
November 6, 2021 5:04 am

Once again, we need to point out that WUWT readers have been exposing the Drax problem for far longer than your green groups. It’s good to see those green groups joining with WUWT readers for a change, how does it feel to be on this side of the debate, Griffy?

MarkW
Reply to  Richard Page
November 6, 2021 7:19 am

I seem to recall one of the griff’s defending Drax as being a good interim solution, while we wait for sufficient wind/solar/battery to be built.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  griff
November 6, 2021 8:40 am

Griff, you have it backwards. The so-called “green” groups, who tend to be pampered urban liberal arts majors, are always big on feelings but know nothing about science and technology. WUWT readers, many of whom are career scientists and engineers, have known and frequently highlighted the problems and shortcomings with biomass LONG before the greenies were told by their puppet masters to stop supporting bio energy.

One telling note in this report is that it exposes the incompetence of investors, banks and money-managers in making decisions about energy policy. How could any of them EVER thought Drax and biomass were good, sustainable investments? Only if they were either ignorant or predatory. Thus, the current moves by the World Economic Forum, UN-led Principles of Responsible Investing (PRI) and the emerging push for Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting are misguided at best, but most likely raw power and money-grabs. Global elites vs. liberty and the common man.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  griff
November 6, 2021 7:08 pm

” it isn’t green or renewable.”

It is your taxpayer money going up the stacks. That was after it went up the ship exhaust stacks and after the forest equipment diesel exhaust pipes, and after U.S. taxpayer money spent on the incentive project activity as a “jobs” creation success. A lot of fossil fuels were consumed just in supporting the prioritized tax incentives. And all of that was for what?

DocSiders
November 6, 2021 3:58 am

If Elections have any effect going forward, convincing most of the population to shoulder 300% to 400% higher energy costs while also suffering shortages WITHOUT significant CO2 Abatement might become… difficult.

Especially so if (unfortunately for humans) the Northern Hemisphere Climate turns cooler the next 10-15 years as the NAO has turned negative and will very likely deepen for the next 2 decades. Arctic sea ice will unambiguously expand and thicken as ocean currents (predictably…with a 5-10 year lag) change…and Europe has a decade+ of ugly and possibly deadly (bc/o energy shortages) Winters.

The Climate Liars know this is likely…so they are really stepping up their Abuse of Power and Corruption of Science to accomplish their Globalist goals before this happens. They will NOT get any Atmospheric CO2 reductions to attribute any cooling to…thanks to China, India, and Southeast Asia accelerating “carbon” emissions.

Expect the worst…they are too deeply invested in this global scam to back off…and they hold most of the power globally. Meanwhile they are losing some of their grip on the US with their Authoritarian overreach on Vaccine Mandates and the ugly hatefulness of Wokeness. Millions of Independent and Democrat workers who are probably losing (sacrificing actually) their livelihoods bc/o the Mandates will never Vote “Left” again. The unjustified (scientifically or morally) and illegal Executive Authoritarianism isn’t palatible.

Expect Elections to be corrupted in brand new ways, because the Liars see how big the resistance is….Yet aren’t backing off? Doubling down now by going after ALL workers…not just larger companies. They will probably blame the RESULTANT economic constriction (& possible recession) on the “labor shortage” bottlenecks…blaming the workers for “Shelfishness”.

Things are quickly getting lots more serious in the defense of freedom and justice. But 75% of Americans don’t want to go over that cliff…so there’s hope…BUT THERE STILL IS NO LEADERSHIP.

John H
Reply to  DocSiders
November 6, 2021 4:42 am

One problem in the UK is there is that all of the old Political parties have signed up fully to the Green Blob, unless a viable non Green alternative turns up, spoiling your vote, while satisfying on the day, achieves nothing.

Peta of Newark
November 6, 2021 4:32 am

Here’s a laugh or cry concerning biomass and net-zero..
(I have a sub of sorts here, hope it shows 4U)

Headline:”Shortage of saplings hits planting scheme plans
link

If you do see the Farmers Weekly, getta lode of Boris catching it from a new direction.
(That IS something, there is No Way any UK farmer would ever vote Socialist)
Opinion:”What is the value of a meaningless pledge”
link

Last edited 2 months ago by Peta of Newark
Joel
November 6, 2021 5:27 am

Drax is not the bad guy in this situation. It provides a valuable service to the UK despite the insanity of the UK govt.
Note that woodpellet burning is considered renewable clean energy in the USA.
BTW, just for jollies, has anybody actually calculated how much of the woodpellets would be available to burn by Drax if woodpellets were used for power at every step of the woodpellet production process?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Joel
November 6, 2021 6:20 am

“Note that woodpellet burning is considered renewable clean energy in the USA.”
That’s only partially true. The forestry industry certainly likes it- as a way to manage forests. But, the green, lunatic, climate wackos TRULY HATE it. If y’all don’t know this and appreciate this- you’re missing the story. The enviro groups in North America have fought against woody biomass for many years and have succeeded in almost killing it off- especially in New England, which has vast woodlands desperately needing mgt. The queen of the woody biomass haters is not far from me in western MA- Mary Booth- just check out her web site: https://www.pfpi.net/
So, just stop claiming that woody biomass is a thing the greens and enviros love. To get the truth about woody biomass, talk to foresters and realize that it’s not something promoted by the greentards. Not long ago, Dartmouth College was going to install a large biomass power plant to serve that college and nearby community- I think it was going to be 200MW- the greens rose up and stopped it.
The forests in New England are in poor condition, having been totally clear cut in the nineteenth centure by farmers, with much of the land converted to sheep farming- then the forests grew back- but then those new forests were high graded (they cut the best and left the rest)- now the forest are NOTHING like the primeval forests- they are loaded with short lived, low value, early succesion species and poor quality trees left from the high grading. To improve the forests we need to get rid of the undesirable trees and GROW HIGH VALUE trees of the species that actually dominated the primeval forests- sugar maple, red oak, white pine and others- so people can have low carbon footprint wood as a raw material for homes, furniture, paper products. Now, in MA, biomass is VERBOTEN- instead, the *&^%% greens are promoting gigantic solar and wind farms, which have resulted in thousands of acres of fields and forests being destroyed. To get to net zero by 2050- at least 200,000 more acres of forest will be destroyed and converted to solar.

So, I wish you all here would understand this- and support forestry AND woody biomass. it’s NOT a greentard thing- it’s much more like fossil fuels and it’s renewable and biomass power plants run 24/7.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 8:46 am

To get some idea of what is involved would that be 200,000 acres of mature forests containing around 20m trees?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 6, 2021 10:04 am

I absolutely support letting foresters do their job. And those solar “farms” are almost as horrible as the bird choppers despoiling wilderness areas. There’s a corn field being turned into one of those hideous solar farms just a few miles from my house. All I can say is at least it’s not a windmill.

Rusty
November 6, 2021 7:51 am

Drax supplies 6% of the UK’s electrical needs. I doubt the UK can keep the lights on without it.

Oddgeir
November 6, 2021 11:07 am

Not good enough.

They need to be banned from
-importing biofuels (e.g. i.e. Amazon timber/Canuck boreal forest chips)
-buying subsidized biofuels

Oddgeir

Steve Taylor
November 6, 2021 2:02 pm

Well that’s another 2.6GW of capacity gone…..

Coeur de Lion
November 6, 2021 2:45 pm

Note that any forest is carbon dioxide neutral and not a ‘sink’. Do try and understand!

Gunga Din
November 6, 2021 3:13 pm

Why burn “junk” trees that aren’t useful for timber to build things. Their wood fibers and “chips” can be used for good paper (ie Toilet paper needs long fibers to be soft, strong and absorbent. The recycling process doesn’t result in good toilet paper.). And ‘junk” trees chips can be used to make plywood and, as a friend of mine called it, “oatmeal board”.
Why burn new wood for power when you can burn REALLY old wood for power?
Most call that REALLY old wood “coal”.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
November 6, 2021 3:15 pm

You can’t build anything with coal.
(Except, maybe, a prosperous civilization.)

ResourceGuy
November 6, 2021 6:20 pm

That was a planned Oops like all the other large-scale Oops megaprojects and giveaways. It was also a test of who is paying attention and apparently not many in the media and the enviro groups. Solyndra and a dozen more Obama mega flops paid for by taxpayers were not supposed to get attention. That was also while that arse was calling deniers those with their heads in the sand. Greenwashing is too nice a word for the official con jobs.

Andrew Dickens
November 7, 2021 12:34 pm

Please understand. Burning trees in the Amazon or Congo is bad deforestation. Burning trees from North Carolina and Georgia is good deforestation. That’s warmist (double) thinking.

%d bloggers like this: