Coal Plants Going Green - UK
The UK plans to end coal powered electricity by 2025. So what happens to the huge coal plants left behind? The largest power plant in Western Europe, Drax in the UK that now burns coal, is going green. By 2023, it won't burn coal. It will burn only biomass and natural gas. The biomass is wood pellets smashed to powder to generate electricity.
Coals' Big Grid Connections
Coal has been a big player in the global electricity market. Coal companies have expensive connections to national grids and cutting those connections may not be easy. Nonetheless, the UK has gone from coal being 45% of its power mix in 2012 to a very low amount today. The UK, like many other nations, is committed to cutting the dirty air emissions from coal. There's a drive to find alternative uses for the coal plants as nations convert to alternative energy.
Big Money to Convert to Biomass
It's very expensive to convert from coal to biomass at the utility scale. Biomass clogs must be kept dry. They swell and can burst into flames. Drax has done the conversion and it wasn't cheap. It now has 2 gigawatts of biomass capacity; the same as it has for coal.
Global Coal Conversion Projects
Other similar projects are underway globally. Including in the US, where small coal facilities are converting to burning natural gas which is cheaper. And in Denmark, where a coal plant in Copenhagen is being converted into a 100% biomass facility. These projects are all about renewable energy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.