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Drax ends coal-fired generation at its 4 GW North Yorkshire power plant (UK)

The British energy company Drax has officially announced the end of coal-fired power generation at its nearly 4 GW North Yorkshire power plant, located in northern England (United Kingdom). Following the end of a winter contingency agreement, which saw Drax and the UK’s National grid agree to keep Drax’s remaining coal-fired units available to provide a contingency service from October 2022 to March 2023, the company will now begin a decommissioning process to remove coal-related infrastructure from the site.

The North Yorkshire power plant, which was once Western Europe’s largest coal-fired power plant, started generating power in 1974 and consisted of six 660 MW units: four biomass-fired (2.6 GW) and two coal-fired (1.3 GW). The four biomass-fired units also used to be coal-fired but were converted to biomass during the 2010s. The Drax North Yorkshire power plant produced 12.7 TWh of electricity in 2022.

The UK plans to phase out of coal-fired generation by 2024. As of end-2021, coal-fired capacity represented 3.5% of the UK’s installed capacity with 3.5 GW and 2.4% of its power generation with 7.4 TWh.

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