World’s Biggest “Green” Power Station Apparently Not So Green

The Law Of Unintended Consequences rears its head

(UK Daily Mail) It is touted as the flagship of Britain’s energy future: the world’s biggest green power plant burning wood pellets to generate renewable biomass electricity that will safeguard the planet for our children.

But today The Mail on Sunday can expose the hypocrisy that underpins the Drax power station in North Yorkshire – which far from curbing greenhouse emissions, is actually increasing them, while adding huge sums to the nation’s power bills.

Drax was once Britain’s biggest coal-fired power station. It now burns millions of tons of wood pellets each year, and is reputed to be the UK’s biggest single contributor towards meeting stringent EU green energy targets.

But astonishingly, a new study shows that the switch by Drax from coal to wood is actually increasing carbon emissions. It says they are four times as high as the maximum level the Government sets for plants that use biomass – which is defined as fuel made from plant material that will grow back again, therefore re-absorbing the CO2 emitted when it is burnt.

At £80 per MW/hr, Drax’s biomass energy is two-and-a-half times more expensive than coal – a cost passed on to customers. Last year Drax soaked up £340 million in ‘green’ subsidies that were added to British consumers’ power bills – a sum set to rocket still further. Without these subsidies, its biomass operation would collapse.

Perhaps most damningly of all, its hunger for wood fuel is devastating hardwood forests in America, to the fury of US environmentalists, who say that far from saving the planet, companies like Drax are destroying it. Drax denies this, saying it only uses dust and residues from sawmills, as well as wood left over when others log trees for purposes such as construction. Inquiries by The Mail on Sunday investigation suggests this claim is highly questionable.

Apparently, they are only using about 9.5% dust and residues. Mostly, they are using trees that are being clearcut that are not good for lumber. So, we’re replacing coal, which has a much lower cost (but still has real world environmental costs, like mountain top removal), with an even older technology, wood, which results in forest destruction, and still has a high CO2 output.

In fact, the use of wood is growing in Europe, due to all the draconian “climate change” rules, regs, and laws. Which has led to governments enacting and proposing regulations on wood burning stoves and fireplaces.

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7 Responses to “World’s Biggest “Green” Power Station Apparently Not So Green”

  1. john says:

    340 million pounds OMG that is a fortune
    it is like 2 cents a day per person for this subsidy
    Difference is trees can recapture their carbon in as little as 12 years (length of time for fast growing southern lob lolly pine before harvest) where as it takes eons for burnt coal to complete the coal carbon cycle
    EPA has regulated wood burning fireplaces and stoves here in the USA since Reagan signed the regs back in the 80s
    I am surprised a city hater like you wasn’t aware of that
    Historically the % of forested land in the USA is about 70% of what it was in 1630
    that figure hasn’t changed noticeably recently
    The biggest decrease in our hardwood forest comes as climate changes softwoods like southern pines take over from cold climate oaks and birches (hardwoods)

  2. JGlanton says:

    Burning trees creates a lot of carbon? Duh, who woulda thunkit?

    Where is James Hansen? He should be yelling “Death Ships!” at the wood pellet ships and chaining himself to the railings. Because he showed us that’s how the world’s best climate scientists behave.

    Of course the carbon contained in a tree came from the air in the first place, so they are just speeding up the recycling of carbon back to it’s source.

  3. gitarcarver says:

    So john is happy with a subsidy that costs the average person more and does more harm.

    You can’t argue with that logic, because their is no logic to argue with.

  4. Jl says:

    And of course John ignores the main point of the story-that another “green” idea bites the dust.

  5. Conservative Beaner says:

    Wasn’t Drax the bad guy on Moonraker?

    Why yes he was. His idea of a perfect planet was to eliminate anyone that did not fit his idea of a perfect person. I Drax was just a fictional character but he fits the typical persona of a typical leftist who thinks they know better than you.

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