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Petition against White Rose subsidies

Environmental campaigners have delivered a petition with 113,000 signatures to energy secretary Amber Rudd urging her not to give financial backing to carbon capture technology in Capture Power’s upcoming White Rose facility at Selby, North Yorkshire, or Peterhead power station in Scotland.

The Yorkshire project comprises the construction, operation and maintenance of a thermal generating station, an ultra-supercritical oxy-fuel coal-fired power plant of up to 448MW with the ability to co-fire biomass, at the existing Drax site. 

MRW understands that the use of biomass will constitute a maximum of 15% of the plant’s feedstock which is dependent on economic factors.

Alstom, Drax and BOC are the project co-developers and have formed a new company called Capture Power that will be responsible for the development, implementation and operation of the plant.

Carbon capture and storage enables the CO2 emissions to be stored deep underground rather than released to the atmosphere, as occurs at conventional power stations.

Alstom will build the site while Drax will operate and maintain the power plant, including the CO2 capture facilities. National Grid will construct and operate the CO2 transport pipelines and the COundersea storage facilities in the North Sea.

But campaigner groups Biofuelwatch, Coal Action Network and Dogwood Alliance are unhappy that Rudd is considering support of up to £1bn on a coal or coal-plus-biomass power station.

The environmental groups claim the carbon capture technology has not proven to be economically viable and a subsidy would be better spent on insulating homes, improving energy efficiencies and boosting other forms of renewable energy.

Biofuelwatch campaigner Duncan Law said: “White Rose will be hugely expensive and tie the UK into even more coal and biomass burning long into the future.”

The groups also claim that wood burned at the Drax power station, which is located on the same site as the proposed land for the White Rose plant, comes from the clear cutting of biodiverse wetland forests in the southern US.

Drax refutes this, saying that biomass pellets are sourced from tree material that has no economic value in other markets, such as rotten or misshapen trees, and leaves and twigs that remain after stripping the valuable wood out of a tree.

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