Since 1970, the UK has reduced coal consumption from 158 million tons down to 9 million tons.
Long trainloads of imported wood, sourced from forests in the USA and Canada, pass my house every day - heading for Drax power station. The government class this as "renewable energy" - but the suppliers are chopping down (essentially mining) hardwood forests that won't regrow for many decades. This is insane.
Since 2012, Drax Plc has morphed from a single-asset company, operating the UK’s biggest coal power station to now operating the world’s biggest wood-burning plant, as well as being the second biggest producer of wood pellets globally, supplying companies across Europe and East Asia. Drax power station, in Yorkshire, emits more CO2 than any other facility in the UK.
In return for burning huge quantities of wood from forests that are logged in the Southeastern USA, Canada the Baltic States and elsewhere, Drax received almost £1 billion in subsidies during 2021, paid from a surcharge on UK electricity bills. Thanks to those generous subsidies, Drax made more than £100 million in profits and is increasing its dividends, i.e. pay-outs to shareholders. This comes at a time when the UK is facing the worst cost of living crisis in at least sixty years, including record fuel bills.