Environmental lawyers object Drax’s proposed 3.6GW gas plant
ClientEarth argues the project, if given the go-ahead, ‘will risk locking in high carbon energy on the grid until 2050’
Environmental lawyers at ClientEarth have lodged an objection over Drax’s proposed new large-scale gas plant.
Drax submitted an application to convert two coal-fired units at its Selby power plant in North Yorkshire to four combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT), with up to 3.6GW of capacity as well as up to 200MW of battery storage facility.
The environmental lawyers argue the gas plant, if given the go-ahead, “will risk locking in high carbon energy on the grid until 2050” and claim the project breaches the government’s climate change recommendations.
They add it will “nearly treble” the units’ generation capacity and could lead to a “significant increase” in their greenhouse gas emissions.
The government estimates the UK will need 6GW of new gas generation through to 2035, however, it has already approved more than 15GW of large-scale gas plants – ClientEarth says approving Drax’s project would take the total capacity to 18GW, three times the government’s estimates.
They believe the proposed gas conversion threatens to displace low carbon energy that could otherwise replace the units’ generation capacity once they are retired.
Sam Hunter Jones, Climate Accountability Lawyer at ClientEarth said: “The UK Government claims to be a climate leader, yet it major energy projects such as this from Drax are granted planning consent, the UK will risk carbon lock-in that would seriously undermine its ability to meet its climate change commitments. Approving this new gas capacity risks either throwing the UK’s decarbonisation off course or locking in redundant infrastructure resulting in significant environmental impacts and costs to the taxpayer.