Drax poised for a £700m biomass push

  • @BawdenTom

Britain's biggest power station, Drax, threw down the gauntlet to the Government yesterday, pledging to invest up to £700m to transform itself into a biomass energy generator but only if subsidies are increased.

The coal-fired power plant said it was willing to invest heavily to become an energy generator that was primarily fuelled by renewable biological materials such as wood or cocoa shells.

It is preparing to raise £300mto £400m of cash to help finance its biomass drive, with a rights issue and debt issue thought tobe among the options it isconsidering.

Drax, which is the biggest power station in western Europe, would fund the rest of the investment from the £225m of cash from its balance sheet and profits.

Dorothy Thompson, the chief executive, said: "Drax is ready to transform itself into a predominantly renewable generator,but to do so we need appropriate regulatory support, and to that end we look forward to the timely conclusion of the Government's current review."

The Government is due to complete its review into subsidy levels for biomass-generated electricity in the spring.