Coal-fired power station Drax has called on the government to change its regulations to make it possible to take advantage of cheap energy in the form of biomass.
The company, which is the biggest coal-fired power station in Europe, has plans to convert one of its six coal generators to run on biomass but the proposal is said to be not entirely feasible under the current Renewable Obligation (RO) regulatory regime.
The RO regime assigns certificate to difference renewable generation technologies on a banded bases and is tilted against co-firing.
Drax can already produce up to 500 megawatts of electricity - an eighth of its output - from biomass burnt alongside coal in co-firing facilities but it is only using about half of the capacity because most of the 1.5 million tonnes of annual input comes from agricultural residue such as peanut husks, which are up to three times more expensive than coal.
Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, said: "For years [biomass] has provided more electricity in the UK than any other renewable resource, but electricity generation from biomass has not increased in recent years due to certain limitations in the policy framework."
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