‘Opening up auctions could save £2bn on bills’

Drax Power Station at dusk

Drax Power Station at dusk

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CONSUMERS could save more than £2bn if the Government’s planned renewable energy auctions are opened up to include a wider mix of technologies, according to a survey supported by power station Drax.

Drax commissioned NERA Economic Consulting and Imperial College to look at costs that it claims are not reflected in the contracts the Government awards for renewable generation.

A Drax spokesman said: “These hidden costs, or whole system costs, are increasing as intermittent renewables – those reliant on the sun and wind – increase.

“These intermittent renewables mean other forms of power generation need to kick in, and flex up and down to meet electricity demand. These costs are passed on to consumers via their energy bills.”

Drax group’s chief executive, Dorothy Thompson, said: “Intermittent renewables like wind and solar are vital as we continue to clean up energy generation, but they need to be backed up by a constant supply of electricity that can be flexed up and down to make sure the UK’s businesses and households always have power on demand.

“Opening up energy auctions to include other renewables could save consumers £2bn and, with more biomass in the mix, energy security is also boosted. Using the latest technology we’ve upgraded half our power station to run on compressed wood pellets, which give an 80 per cent plus carbon saving against coal. With the right support we stand ready to finish the job.”

A Department of Energy & Climate Change spokesman said: “We are already supporting over 5GW of biomass technologies, providing nearly a quarter of our renewable electricity generation.

“We are ensuring a sensible level of support so that we safeguard value for money – keeping bills as low as possible.”

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