On the 12 September we took a cross-party group of parliamentarians (Lord Young of Norwood Green, Baroness Neville-Jones, Lord Stunell, Lord Haworth and Angela Smith MP) on a visit to Drax power plant in Selby. The visit is part of a wider educational programme where the IPT shows parliamentarians a side of industry they might not have seen before. The ultimate goal is to create a better-informed Parliament for public benefit.
The main objective for the Drax visit was to learn about how they are creating more sustainable energy and the plans they have for the future in this area.
Upon arrival, the delegation was given a brief history of the site; it opened in 1973 following the decision to build three large power stations in the area after the discovery of the Selby coalfields.
In 2007 Drax moved to predominately creating energy through biomass in an effort to be more sustainable. The group learnt how the biomass process works before touring the facilities to see close-up the entire chain of production.
In 2018 Drax announced a carbon capture and storage pilot in conjunction with C-Capture, a Leeds-based company established from Leeds University’s chemistry department. This technology is currently being trialled with biomass and, according to Drax, they are capturing around a tonne of CO2 per day. This carbon can then be used for other purposes such as creating fish food or carbonising drinks.
Climate change and sustainability are increasingly important and public issues. After seeing the technology and speaking to someone from C-Capture, Lord Young, commented that the technology has the potential to making “a valuable contribution to combatting climate change”.
Angela Smith, whose Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency is close to Drax, said of the visit “as the country starts to get to grips with meeting the 2050 target of net zero carbon, it is so important we parliamentarians understand how we are going to achieve that goal”.