Drax sees profit surge


Coal-fired energy firm Drax Power saw its first half profits before deductions rise to £239 million, the company has announced.

Drax Power, which generates seven per cent of the UK's electricity at the Drax power station in North Yorkshire, enjoyed a quadrupling of its year-on-year operating profit, up from £69 million last year to £329 million this year.

Explaining the dramatic increase in profits, chief executive Dorothy Thompson explained that high upstream crude oil costs had pushed the overall energy market's prices upwards, above the price of coal.

"These results have been delivered against a background where commodity market developments were driven by a progressive rise in crude oil prices," Ms Thompson explained.

"High gas prices have meant that gas fired generation continued to be the principal price setting plant in the UK power market and had a strong upward influence on the power price."

Drax power station was in the news last month following a major protest at the North Yorkshire plant by the Camp for Climate Action group, objecting to the pollution the coal-burning plant produces.

The company's chairman, Gordon Horsfield, made a special effort to thank "the continuing commitment of our employees". He said: "I would like to express my appreciation for their enthusiasm and commitment to the Drax business".

Following today's results, Drax has issued a special dividend of 80 pence per share to its shareholders, and, Ms Thompson reiterated, confirmed its ongoing commitment to coal as an important energy source for Britain.

"We believe coal is critical to the UK energy mix going forward if the government is to achieve its objectives of delivering security of supply, affordability and tackling climate change, where biomass and energy crop burning with coal has much to contribute," Ms Thompson said.

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