North can power the future - Drax boss

The North of England is well-placed to be the driving force for new technological developments that will power the country, a boss at Drax power station has claimed.

Drax Power Station, near Selby Picture by Simon Hulme

Group director of corporate affairs, Clare Harbord, told the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce AGM that there were major opportunities for the North to be at the heart of innovative new technologies within the energy industry, building on the region’s industrial past and now more recently as a world leader in lower carbon technologies like offshore wind, nuclear and biomass.

Speaking at the event in Leeds Ms Harbord explained said: “If we capitalise on the innovation and expertise we have here, then in the process we can deliver environmental, social and economic benefits for our communities too.

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“Having a highly skilled, diverse and inclusive workforce is vital to all of this.

“In the North we already have world-class engineers but we need to do more to invest in the next generation so they have the right education and skills, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

“By working together with education providers, academics, businesses, local and regional government and our communities, we can develop opportunities which allow us to reach the great potential we have here in the North.”

Having been the UK’s biggest coal-fired power station, Drax has transformed itself to become the country’s biggest renewable power generator, and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

It has converted two thirds of the power station to use biomass from coal. It employs around 900 people at the power station near Selby, and supporting a further 6,000 jobs in the wider supply chain across the region.