Drax has confirmed that the overwhelming bulk of its biomass feedstock is imported from north America, but insists that none of its intake originates from tree stumps or virgin timber.
The energy producer has released supply figures which show that most feedstock for its North Yorkshire facility came from sawmill and forest residues.
Critics of the biomass conversion argue that the Government should be subsidising more sustainable energy sources and that importing wood could lead to deforestation in north America.
The report claims that the Drax plant is the largest carbon reduction project in Europe and that, by 2016, half of its boilers will have converted to biomass.Drax asserts that biomass is only used if it is found to be economically attractive and sustainable.
The energy company’s share price has recently fallen to a two-year low following proposals from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that it would reduce the subsidies available to biomass plants.
In August 2014, the company failed in a legal bid to reverse a DECC decision to exclude one of the power-generating units at the site from its new Contracts for Difference (CfD) regime.
The European Commission is also investigating the CfD scheme in relation to the conversion to biomass of the Lynemouth coal plant, which is owned by rival operator RWE. It is assessing whether the scheme breaks EU rules on state aid by over-compensating RWE for its commercial costs rather than a wider economic necessity.