Just Two New Drax BECCS Units Can Save UK £4.5 Billion

Just Two New Drax BECCS Units Can Save UK £4.5 Billion - Carbon Herald

A new independent analysis by Baringa, a leading energy consultancy, commissioned by Drax Group, helps Drax understand the role of BECCS for the power sector and for the UK’s decarbonization targets. As Drax is looking to retrofit two of its existing 630MW biomass units with carbon capture and storage units (CCS), it wants to find out how they impact the UK’s net zero targets. 

The first BECCS unit is supposed to come online in 2027 and the second – by 2030. Together, they are estimated to capture 8 million tons of CO2 per year. Baringa has modeled the case for not deploying BECCS at Drax from 2027 and showed that:

  • Not deploying the Drax units from 2027 would cost the UK an additional £4.5bn over the next decade. That would also make achieving the UK Government’s fifth carbon budget, which runs from 2028 to 2032, more difficult and significantly more expensive. The UK’s fifth carbon budget calls for maximum levels of CO2 equivalent emissions of 1,725 megatons by 2032, which is a 57% reduction below 1990 levels. 
  • Achieving the net-zero target without BECCS power would cost the UK an additional £15bn to reach its 2050 net zero target.

Drax Case For Investing In BECCS

According to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), BECCS in power will need to remove between 16 and 39 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2050 to meet net zero targets. The 8 million tonnes of CO2 reduction that BECCS at Drax could deliver represents up to 40% of that target. 

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said: “Drax is ready to invest in this essential technology which will help the UK decarbonize faster and kickstart a whole new industry here. By delivering BECCS, the UK can show the world what can be achieved for the environment and the economy when governments, businesses, and communities work together.”

With support from the government, work to build Drax’s first unit could begin as soon as 2024, and start operation in 2027 as it takes around 2 years to complete. The UK government has committed to invest up to £1 billion to support the establishment of CCUS in 4 industrial clusters.

According to the report, the deployment of BECCS by Drax is cost-optimal and brings 8 million tons of saved CO2 emissions per year towards the UK’s 2050 decarbonization targets. A summary of the analysis can also be found here

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