Drax Re-power

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Drax Re-power

Received 09 August 2018
From Christine Way


I wish to object to the Drax Repower proposal because it is not a sustainable development as defined in the National Planning Policy Framework, since it is not compatible with a transition to a low-carbon future for the following reasons:
Drax is already the U.K.’s single largest emitter of carbon dioxide and admits in its Preliminary Environmental Information Report that the burning of fossil (natural) gas at the power station will: “represent a significant net increase in greenhouse gas emissions and have therefore negative climate impacts.”
Opening new fossil gas fields is inconsistent with the Paris Climate Agreement. In order to meet these goals to keep global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees, the UK needs to phase out fossil fuel emissions, not increase them. According to a recent Oil Change International report the extraction and burning of fossil fuels from currently proposed projects would take the world far beyond safe climate limits. ” [Redacted]

Permitting power stations such as Drax to burn large quantities of natural (fossil fuel) gas will push us beyond the 1.5 degree limit and prevent the UK from meeting its international commitments to tackle climate change.
This proposal to build by far the largest gas-burning power capacity ever built in the UK comes at a time when the UK’s North Sea gas production is in long-term decline and Norwegian gas production (the main source of gas imports) is predicted to peak around 2022. This would require an increased reliance on Russian gas imports (an unlikely option for geopolitical reasons) or a reliance on unconventional gas, especially hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling.
Unconventional gas production is associated with significant leakage of methane – far more so than conventional gas production [Redacted]
Research published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology suggests that a gas plant can become a bigger source of greenhouse gas emissions than a coal one if just 3% of the gas leaks into the atmosphere. [Redacted]
Leakage of methane in the production of gas for Drax would therefore significantly increase carbon emissions over and above the smokestack emissions of burning the gas.
The smokestack CO2 emissions from new gas units will exceed the longer-term average CO2 emissions per unit of electricity (which have been dropping rapidly due to greater wind and solar power use) and thus contribute to higher long-term UK CO2 emissions.
Drax’s Repower plan to burn large quantities of gas will hamper rather than help the U.K.’s transition to low carbon energy. Although Drax argues that gas can be a useful ‘transition fuel’ between coal and renewable energy replacing coal with another fossil fuel cannot help us to decarbonise. Switching from coal to shale gas will accelerate rather than slow global warming according to the ecosystem scientist, Professor Robert W Howarth, from Cornell University. [Redacted]

I believe that we should invest in genuinely renewable wind, wave and solar energy which can help us to meet our climate targets rather than paying for an unnecessary gas development which will contribute to climate change.
I urge you to heed these concerns and refuse permission for Drax to start burning gas.
Yours sincerely,[Christine Way