Drax warms to renewable heat with wood pellet deal

Energy giant Drax is moving further into the renewable heat market with the acquisition of the UK's second-largest wood pellet distributor, Billington Bioenergy (BBE).

The power generator will supply wood pellets through BBE to domestic and commercial customers, offering a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels such as heating oil, LPG and solid fuels.

Drax Group chief executive Dorothy Thompson said: “This is an exciting opportunity to help transform the UK heat market in the same way we have made the UK power market so much less dependent on high carbon fossil fuels. Biomass is a cost-effective, low carbon and dependable source of heat which homes and businesses can rely on.”

The electricity generated from the biomass will be supplied to businesses through Haven Power, which Drax acquired in 2009.

BBE strategy director Edward Billington said: “I am immensely proud of the business we have grown at BBE and would not seek new partners lightly but Drax made it clear that it wants to play a key role to help develop the marketplace for sustainable wood pellet heating for the long term.

“That is a prize that anyone who cares about decarbonisation would want to see. Drax remains committed to the network of suppliers and installers, with which we have worked so closely. This partnership is very good news for wood pellet heating in the UK, and we are delighted to be working with Drax.”

Drax already makes use of biomass through Drax Biomass for the two units at the Yorkshire power station that have converted to biomass. The move has transformed the former coal-fired generator into the UK’s largest renewable power producer. The firm anticipates that the wood pellet market will grow from the current levels of circa 200,000 tonnes in 2013 to more than a million tonnes per annum by 2020, supported by the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

Video: Biomass at Drax

edie staff

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