The U.K.’s largest coal-fired plant will become western Europe’s largest clean-energy producer with the announcement of Drax Group Plc’s $1 billion effort to transition from burning coal to burning wood.
“We see a key part of our future as converting from essentially a coal station to a biomass station,” Chief Executive Officer Dorothy Thompson told Bloomberg. “It will take Drax from being the largest carbon emitter by site in the U.K. to being, probably, one of the largest renewable plants in the world.”
By June, one of the site’s six units will start burning wood pellets with two others to follow shortly after. Through 2017, Drax will spend up to 700 million pounds ($1.13 billion) upgrading its boilers in England—an effort that will also require ordering millions of tons of biomass from around the world and building facilities to store the fuel.