Especially while many things are online, Drax will be running a lot of talks about how great they are 🙄. This is our chance to pop in and ask a few questions they might not have been expecting. We aren’t going to persuade any of Drax employees (unless you’re really good!), but hopefully it will help others cut through Drax’s relentless “Greenwashing”
- Find the link to the call. Hopefully there will be one on our events page
- Join it and look interested
- Ask questions and provide links to resources for others in the call to learn.THE QUESTIONSJust a few compiled questions, please email us with more!TREE BURNING
- Is it normal for Green Energy suppliers to be given $2.5 millon fines for air pollution violations?
- Do all “green projects” actively worsen environmental racism?
- The biomass industry admits it will take 100 years for carbon neutrality. Why are Drax lying about this?PELLET PRODUCTION
- Wood pellet production has been described as so polluting that it “leaves people prisoners in their own homes”. Why don’t we use real renewable energy?BECCS
- Why is Drax not going ahead with your BECCS partnership with C-Capture? Was the partnership unsuccessful?More info about C-Capture – If the carbon capture technology is added to the biomass units, what is the energy penalty and how much additional biomass will need to be burned for the same electricity output that Drax Power Station currently generates?
- If the amount of wood burned at Drax doesn’t increase, how much less electricity will be generated? And what trials specific to the technology chosen are Drax’s BECCS assumptions based on?If BECCS technology were ever made to work in the future, it would mean an increased demand for wood to supply enough energy to capture and store the CO2. This would lead to more forest destruction and the conversion of huge areas of land to monoculture tree plantations in order to supply wood to burn in power stations 1
- For more information, please see page 2 of this report from Friends of the Earth International: “ Providing enough biomass for BECCS, at the scale needed, would only be possible through deforestation, land-grabbing, and by converting large amounts of arable land into monoculture plantations. This means that BECCS will create competition for land among food producers, as more and more cropland will be dedicated to growing crops for fuel. In fact, it is estimated that rolling out BECCS at scale will require up to 3000 million hectares – around twice the amount of land that is currently already cultivated, globally.”
- How much CO2 has Drax captured and stored so far in each of your two pilot projects and over what time period?Drax plans to capture 1 tonne of CO2 per day but as yet, has released all of it back into the atmosphere. For more information, please see page 6 of this Drax briefing.FURTHER ARTICLES, FOR YOUR INFORMATIONPolicymakers Shouldn’t Trust Drax’s Bizarre Tree-Burning Climate Solution – Almuth Ernsting (22/7/2019)Drax brazenly claims that it has “a significant role to play in the transition to a low-carbon future” – without alluding to the fact that closing down its power plant would cut the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by over 17 million tonnes a year. Last year, Drax announced that it wanted to go further and turn its plant into the “first carbon negative power station”. It entered into a partnership with startup company, C-Capture, to try and capture one tonne of carbon dioxide daily. This carbon dioxide was to be sold to pubs to “help keep the fizz” in beer. As of May, the process was not working reliably, and no carbon dioxide was stored or sold. This is not surprising: C-Capture, though founded in 2009, had participated in no previous projects, obtained no patents and published no scientific studies. Instead of using a tried-and-tested solvent for capturing carbon, it chose to make its own, without disclosing any details. […] The inclusion of BECCS into climate policies is dangerous: because BECCS is unlikely to work and, if it did, likely to result in extra carbon dioxide emissions from increased logging and land conversion. Burning trees will not save us from the climate crisis – Richard Dixon (26/1/21) The new report shows how BECCS is being used as a get out of jail card by governments and companies to do little about climate change but tell us all it’s going to be alright. BECCS is popular because countries around the world looked at their expected emissions, saw the widening gap between the trajectory they are on and the targets they are supposed to meet, and simply plugged in the magic unicorn of BECCS to fill the gap. […] There is no fully-functioning BECCS scheme operating anywhere in the world. Of course, planting trees can be a great thing to do but to make BECCS work at scale you need a huge amount of plant material or timber. This would only be possible by destroying natural forests and converting large areas of arable land into monoculture plantations, displacing people, trashing nature and competing with food production. One estimate is that we would need twice as much land as is currently cultivated on a global scale and, according to an assessment in 2019, BECCS at massive scale would threaten an additional 150 million people with hunger. Letter Regarding Use of Forests for Bioenergy, 11/2/2021 And some related press releases: – 500+ Scientists Demand Stop to Tree Burning as Climate Solution – From WWF In recent years, however, there has been a misguided move to cut down whole trees or to divert large portions of stem wood for bioenergy, releasing carbon that would otherwise stay locked up in forests. The result of this additional wood harvest is a large initial increase in carbon emissions, creating a “carbon debt,” which increases over time as more trees are harvested for continuing bioenergy use. Regrowing trees and displacement of fossil fuels may eventually pay off this carbon debt, but regrowth takes time the world does not have to solve climate change. As numerous studies have shown, this burning of wood will increase warming for decades to centuries. That is true even when the wood replaces coal, oil or natural gas. […] To avoid these harms, governments must end subsidies and other incentives that today exist for the burning of wood whether from their forests or others. The European Union needs to stop treating the burning of biomass as carbon neutral in its renewable energy standards and in its emissions trading system. “Global Markets for Biomass Energy are Devastating US Forests” (2019) Investigation booklet into the sourcing of wood biomass from Southern US forests by the world’s largest wood pellet producer, Enviva. This wood is being transported from the Southern US to burn in UK & European power stations, including Drax Despite the claims of the industry, the independent reporting shows a disturbing pattern: wood pellets burned by Drax and others come from wood that is harvested from native hardwood forests in an area designated as a global biodiversity hotspot. They also spotlight the vast quantities of whole trees and other large-diameter wood— biomass feedstocks known to be high-carbon—that are entering Enviva’s supply chain. **Not only is this devastating for these irreplaceable forests, but it’s worsening our Earth’s climate crisis. Multiple independent, peer-reviewed studies have determined that burning biomass from forests for electricity creates more carbon dioxide emissions than burning coal, and that increased carbon dioxide concentrations persist in the atmosphere for decades or more”” In March 2019, investigators in North Carolina again tracked logging trucks from a mature hardwood forest to Enviva’s Northampton wood pellet mill. In January 2018, reporters from the UK Channel 4 News program Dispatches traveled to North Carolina to examine what is happening on the ground in the forests that have become ground zero for feeding Drax Power Station’s voracious demand for wood. The images from the Dispatches investigation tell a story of ecological devastation in the name of clean energy: a once majestic wetland forest clearcut to supply wood to Enviva, and ultimately to Drax.