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Biomass part of £50m upgrade

Shepherd has landed a deal to build new biomass storage and handling facilities as part of a £50m investment at the Drax Power Station in Yorkshire.

Shepherd’s built environment chief executive Mark Perkins said: “We are delighted to be working with Drax. Shepherd Group’s designers have worked closely with the Drax team to develop integrated technical solutions that will create world leading biomass facilities and support Drax’s intention to become a lower carbon generator.

“The project will also generate wider opportunities for local people in terms of employment and skills training, and we will be maximising opportunities for local businesses, working closely with our supply chain partners throughout the build.”

Drax chief executive Dorothy Thompson has previously spoken about how the company could be transformed to produce far more renewable energy including increasing its biomass production given the right regulatory environment.

By increasing biomass production to 20 per cent of the plant’s output, Drax will qualify for increased public subsidy under changes to the Renewables Obligation set out by government in October, but Ms Thompson said a further increase would be dependant on future levels of support with consultation responsed due in the Spring.

She said: “We are pleased to announce the contract with Shepherd which marks the next step in our biomass journey. Delivering reliable, low carbon power in the most cost effective way is a win-win-win, it’s good for security of supply, good for the environment and reduces the cost burden on consumers’ energy bills.

“Drax is ready to transform itself into a predominantly biomass fuelled generator, but to do so we need appropriate regulatory support, and to that end we look forward to the timely conclusion of the Government’s current review of the future support levels for renewable technologies.”