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'Neutral' position of Drax in EU

Wed-15-2016 'Neutral' position of Drax in EU

The simplicity of not having to deal with the EU officials would be "desirable", Drax chief executive Dorothy Thompson has admitted, despite insisting the company was "neutral" on Brexit.

Mrs Thompson said the coal and biomass power plant company's board had "a very long debate" about the UK's membership of the EU before deciding on a position of neutrality.

"We see clear advantages to being in the EU, but we also recognise the strength of the UK," she said.

"I think that the advantage of the EU, the strongest advantage is from an economic point of view: the fact that it is an economic union, and the trading structure and the regulatory structure that goes with that," she told the FT Energy Transformation Strategies conference.

Addressing the arguments for the UK going it alone, she said: "Possibly the largest advantage for Drax is, at the moment when we engage on a regulatory basis we need to deal with the officials here in London and the officials in Brussels.

"So the simplicity of engagement with just one entity would be desirable."

Mrs Thompson has previously said that she personally hopes the UK votes to remain, on economic grounds.

Subsidies should be awarded through a 'technology neutral'

Drax, the UK's biggest power plant, has seen its business fundamentally affected by EU regulations, from complying with environmental rules to curb acid rain, to embarking on the conversion to burn biomass wood pellets under UK policies to hit the EU's renewable energy directive. 

Most recently, Drax has had subsidies for the conversion of the third of its six units held up by a prolonged EU state aid investigation, which is still ongoing.

Separately, the company is also lobbying for subsidies to convert its remaining three units from coal to biomass. In the wake of the Government's announcement it plans to end unabated coal generation by 2025.

As yet, ministers have only pledged more subsidies for new offshore wind farms and have not indicated whether any more for biomass and other renewable technologies will be forthcoming.

However, Drax now hopes that the Competition and Markets Authority's inquiry into the energy sector will force the Government's hand to offer subsidies for which biomass will be eligible to compete. 

Mrs Thompson said: "The CMA investigation makes a clear recommendation that there should be technology-neutral competitions for all future renewables. The Government has said it will respect the CMA recommendations.

"So for the present the Government's official announcement has been there will only be a competition for offshore wind. What we would like is a competition between all technologies."



Source: http://ukrfuel.com/news-life-would-be-simpler-outside-the-eu-sa-114.html

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