It’s a disgrace and I can’t believe it gets a penny in taxpayer subsidies. IMHO, no company that can afford to pay shareholder dividends is in need of subsidies and nor should it receive them.
Drax Biomass manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests located in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, supplying fuel to Drax Power Station to generate flexible, renewable power for UK homes and businesses [source]
They are pushing it as zero carbon, technically this is accurate, as the biomass itself is zero carbon. If you want to get into the complete lifecycle analysis then none of these sources are zero carbon, or zero other types of emission either. Mining for solar, concrete for nuclear etc.
But even then, coal, natural gas and fuel oil have huge additional lifecycle emissions and lifecycle CO2 output. As so often, it is a trade off between different evils, what is the alternative? I am glad it is biomass rather than coal.
Biomass really isn’t anywhere near zero carbon when you ship it across the Atlantic - you are right that there are carbon costs to construction of anything but I’ll take wind turbines vs converted coal plants any time.
I agree wind turbines would be preferable, but if there was this power available, the biomass plants wouldn’t be running. The biomass is taking up the slack, the alternative would be coal.
Some quick and dirty calcs suggest it’s around 220kg C02 per tonne to ship from Houston to Liverpool. Coal produces around 2400kg CO2 per tonne.
Wood biomass has lower energy density that coal, half or less i think (so double the shipping CO2 per kWh generated) but at worst you are still talking about half the carbon intensity, all while ignoring that the coal also had to be shipped!
At Wissington sugar factory they produce many by-products from the sugar beet, one of which is bio-ethanol.
This is getting away from the original point a bit. We as society chose to not use coal any more, but we still need power. Where we get that from can come from various sources, there is not enough ‘clean’ renewables at the moment to provide all the power, so it comes from ‘dirtier’ renewables like biomass. The immediately available alternatives are more polluting. Longer term, more wind power, solar, nuclear etc. are the solution, but that doesn’t keep the lights on today.
You are confusing providing current needs for the grid and long term investment decisions.I am not advocating for biomass plants.
How instead do you propose to produce the 3GW that biomass is producing right now?
No I’m not - you are ignoring both what I said and what happened.
As I said Drax didn’t just switch from coal to biomass overnight. You’re implying that there were no alternatives to biomass in the short term which just isn’t correct. Nor am I arguing that Drax should immediately be closed. Instead of incentivising the use of biomass the UK Govt could have opted not to provide support for biomass - that is the beauty of hindsight, though it doesn’t take much hindsight to guess that onshore wind (in particular) would be a cheap form of energy generation.
So I’m really not sure what point you are trying to make…
I had a look at the 90 added stocks and these are the greenest. Two energy companies on the list have horrific records, FirstEnergy and Hess so steer well clear if that is your concern! Power companies in general will have long histories of fossil fuel, these power utilities are companies who are demonstrating interest and have made some moves. As before you have to weigh up.
CONSUMERS ENERGY $CMS power company moving toward renewables
DOMINION $D power company moving toward renewables
EATON $ETN electric industrial products
EVERSOURCE $ES power company moving to renewables
NIKOLA $NKLA Hydrogen powered vehicles
TOYOTA $TM cars with large hydrogen investment
Thank you! Please get Drax the fudge out of there though! They’re still burning stuff… Saying that has made me think, you guys should approach Fully Charged (YouTube channel // Robert Llewellyn) and maybe get a stall at one of their live expos or do some sort of tie in!
Their content is focussed on new energy and EVs and their audience is too - I imagine many viewers (I’m one of them) would love to invest in many of these asscociated companies.
The hashtag that Fully Charged pushes these days is #StopBurningStuff…