Drax, the climate villain not the Bond villain…

I wrote an opinion piece last week for the Daily Express , before our ‘puppy power’ story broke – and it was also on the subject of biomass – the broad term under which all manner of bad stuff gets burnt and called green.

Trees, rubbish, dogs and other animals.

The focus of this piece was Drax, the climate villain not the Bond villain. They look a little similar it seems to me.

Here’s the Directors Cut;

You may or may not have heard the name Drax.

To me it always sounds a bit like the name of a Bond villain. And surely it’s only a matter of time before the bad guys 007 faces off against are environment villains – when that day comes, Drax is an oven ready candidate.

Drax is Britain’s biggest power station, it used to burn coal, but now it burns trees. Nice.

Trees cut down in America, destroying wildlife habitats – and shipped across the Atlantic to be burned to make what Drax claims is ‘green electricity’. Aided by the fact that the carbon cost of the tree loss is accounted for in America, not here. You have to love creative accounting.

But burning stuff, whatever you burn, to make electricity is so last century….polluting and inefficient. Drax throws away sixty percent of the heat generated by burning these trees and produces an incredible amount of air pollution in the form of particulates – equivalent to 3 million cars a year.

All of this is funded with massive government subsidies. We’re talking £4 billion so far with another £6 billion expected in the next five years. It was £800m last year alone…..probably 20% of all green energy support.

For that sum of money we could have built an enormous amount of genuine renewable energy equipment, using indigenous energy sources, our wind and sun. And not added another 3 million cars worth of pollution to the air we breathe.

Drax recently got booted out of the S&P Global Clean Energy Index – due to increasing concerns in the financial sector – that burning trees isn’t as green as it’s being claimed to be. The money men are waking up to this, it’s time our government did too.

The energy market in Britain is in meltdown, we need a public enquiry to get to the bottom of that – so that we can build a better version.

And we need to target our green spending better – only funding projects that are genuinely green, not greenwashed versions of fossil fuel burning – which is what Drax is and does.