Letter NRDC: Drax Power collects subsidies of more than £2m a day to burn wood to generate electricity. Now, as outlined in your report “Carbon capture accused of low ambition” (July 1), Drax is looking to dip into British pocketbooks again, this time to add a large carbon capture and storage system to its biomass plant in Yorkshire under the guise of creating a so-called “carbon negative” power station. This is not a way to address our climate crisis. Because burning wood for electricity increases global warming, adding carbon capture to these plants does not result in net CO2 removal from the atmosphere. Any government programme to subsidise this technology would throw good money after bad. Biopower plants that burn wood from forests, such as Drax power station, generate climate pollution in two places: at the smokestack where burning biomass emits more CO2 than burning coal; and from the land as mature forests are replaced with young saplings, reducing how much carbon is ultimately sucked out of the atmosphere and stored on the landscape. Adding carbon capture technology to a wood-burning power plant is not a magic climate fix because it can only capture smokestack emissions; it cannot redress the destruction of the forests. As long as Drax continues to burn wood, much of it sourced from clear-cut forests in ecologically sensitive regions such as the US south-east, its power stations cannot be considered “green”, with or without CCS.
FT 3rd July 2019 read more »