As the UK grapples with energy supply issues and faces turning fossil fuel power plants back on to meet a national power shortfall, Drax - the renewable energy firm - has laid out its plans to source 80% of its construction services and materials from the UK. This new supplier framework will be put into place for its bioenergy business, focusing in on carbon capture and storage technologies.
The project is worth many billions of dollars, and its deployment will require a huge procurement exercise for steel, heat pumps, pipes, insulation and electricals, as well as various management and support services. Drax is keen that the work should go to qualified UK businesses and help to generate contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds for contractors that are successful.
At the same time, the project is poised to both create and protect over 10,000 jobs in the Humber as part of efforts to decarbonise one of the most carbon-intensive parts of the UK. This will take place within a broader programme of efforts within the East Coast Cluster of growing green skills, helping to stimulate new industries and supporting broader efforts to level up the North with innovative, high-tech green businesses.
Drax's CEO, Will Gardiner, said that the BECCS project would help the UK to hit its net-zero target, which is legally binding, as well as save billions of pounds for the UK's energy system. He added that the UK's own supply chain could be placed at the heart of this vital climate preserving project, creating thousands of new jobs and projecting others whilst providing significant economic benefit. The project could also continue to place the UK at the heart of global renewable energy development.
A formal consultation period for the project begins in November.