Drax sells gas turbine power stations so it can focus on renewable energy

Drax power station is to sell Drax Generation Enterprise Limited (DGEL), which holds four Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power stations, to VPI Holding for £193.3m.

A poppy projected onto a cooling tower at Drax Power Station for Remembrance Sunday

The firm, which owns and operates the power station in North Yorkshire, said the payment includes £29m of contingent consideration associated with the option to develop a new CCGT at Damhead Creek.

The deal is due to complete on January 31.

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Drax said the CCGT power stations have performed well since their acquisition by Drax in December 2018, but do not form part of the group's core flexible and renewable generation strategy.

Drax expects to realise a premium on sale and will use the proceeds to develop its biomass supply chain and accelerate its ambition to become a carbon negative business by 2030.

Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax Group, said: "By focusing on our flexible and renewable generation activities in the UK we expect to deliver a further reduction in the group's CO2 emissions, which should accelerate our ambition to become not just carbon neutral but carbon negative by 2030.

"By using carbon capture and storage with biomass (BECCS) at the power station in North Yorkshire to underpin the decarbonisation of the wider Humber region, we believe we would be creating and supporting around 50,000 new jobs and delivering a green economic recovery in the North.

"We greatly value the contribution that our colleagues in gas generation have made to the group over the last two years. As we focus on a renewable and flexible portfolio, it is right that we divest these gas generation assets and in doing so create value for our shareholders."

Between 2012 and 2019, through investment in sustainable biomass and hydro, Drax has reduced its carbon emissions by over 85 per cent and become the largest source of renewable electricity in the UK.

Drax also released a trading update, saying that the trading and operational performance of the group has remained robust.

The group's expectations for 2020 adjusted EBITDA remain in line with market expectations, inclusive of the impact of Covid-19 principally in relation to its customers business.

It said that full year expectations remain underpinned by good operational availability for the remainder of 2020.