Alstom SA: Contract for construction of biomass processing facility

DRAX SIGNS Drax Group plc (LSE: DRX), a power generation business, and Alstom (Euronext Paris: ALO), a global leader in power generation technology, have today announced the signing of an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) contract, of some £50 million (€63 million), between Drax Power Limited (“Drax”) and Alstom Power Limited to build the main processing works associated with the 1.5 million tonnes per year biomass co-firing facility to be constructed at the 4,000MW Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire. The processing works will receive, handle, store and process various biomass materials ready for direct injection into the power station’s coal-fired boilers. Drax expects to award contracts for the direct injection equipment and the rail unloading facility in the next few months.

The contract has been awarded following a competitive tender process and marks the first major project for Alstom at Drax. Work begins immediately to prepare the site for construction which is scheduled to start in the second half of 2008. Commissioning of phase one of the project will be completed towards the end of 2009.

The completed project, which at 400MW is believed to be the largest biomass cofiring project in the world, is part of Drax’s commitment to tackling climate change through reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide (“CO2”) by 15%, while underlining Alstom’s proven track record in supplying biomass co-firing technology to large-scale coal-fired power plants.

Co-firing, the blending and burning of renewable biomass materials with coal, is a recognised carbon abatement technology that has significant potential to reduce the emissions of CO2 from coal-fired power stations. Over the last five years, Drax has developed the capability to co-fire renewable biomass materials with coal and has set itself the challenging target to produce 10% of its output from co-firing, the equivalent output of around 500 wind turbines, which will reduce its emissions of CO2 by over two million tonnes each year.

Dorothy Thompson, Chief Executive of Drax, said: “Delivering significant fuel diversification and carbon abatement is central to our business strategy. Meeting our 10% co-firing target is key to achieving our goal of 15% carbon abatement and this contract represents a major milestone in the execution of our co-firing project.

“At Drax, we are only too well aware of the need to tackle climate change and we firmly believe that we are part of the solution. We have a role to play in the transition towards a low carbon economy whilst delivering reliable supplies of electricity.” Patrick Fragman, Managing Director at Alstom, said: “Alstom recognises Drax Power Limited’s long term commitment to their continual reduction of CO2 and are very proud to be associated with the largest biomass cofiring project in the world. This contract underpins Alstom’s position as world leader in delivering biomass co-firing solutions worldwide to contribute to the fight against climate change, in line with its clean power strategy.”

Drax Power Station is also making good progress with its turbine upgrade project, which when complete will deliver a further one million tonnes saving in CO2 emissions. Combined with achieving its 10% co-firing target, Drax is set to reduce its annual emissions of CO2 by 15% (based on current output levels) by 2011. Pinsent Masons were the legal advisers to Drax Power Limited.

For more information, please contact:
Melanie Wedgbury, Head of External Affairs
Drax Power +44 (0) 1757 612438
Susanne Shields, Trade Press Relations Co-ordinator
Alstom Power +33 (0) 1 41 49 27 22
Gary Follows, UK Country Communications Director
Alstom Power +44 (0) 787 588 0810

Notes to Editors
About Drax
1. Drax Power Limited is the operating subsidiary of Drax Group plc and the owner of Drax Power Station, the largest, cleanest and most efficient coal fired power station in the UK. The output capacity from the station’s six generators is 4,000MW. At current output levels it meets some 7% of the UK’s electricity needs.
2. Drax Group is one of the largest independent generating companies in the country. For more information visit

About Alstom Power
3. Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation and rail infrastructure and sets the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. Alstom builds the fastest train and the highest capacity automated metro in the world, and provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions and associated services for a wide variety of energy sources, including hydro, gas, coal and wind. The Group employs more than 70,000 people in 70 countries, and had orders of €19 billion in 2006/07.

About Pinsent Masons
4. Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Shanghai and is a founder member of the PMLG international network with offices in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary and the Baltic States. Pinsent Masons also has key strategic alliances in other European countries, India and the USA. 

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