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However, in April 2014 the second unit converted to biomass was denied similar investment contract support, leaving it to recoup costs from Renewables Obligation Certificates (at 0.9 ROC/MWh; the average ROC price in May 2014 was about £41.70) plus the wholesale power price – about £50/MWh. However, the government offered an investment contract with price guarantee for the third Drax unit (see also UK section in the Energy Subsidies information paper).Each Drax unit burning biomass uses about 4 million tonnes of imported wood pellets per year.Hence energy poverty is an issue in the UK (as elsewhere), and in the winter of 2012-13 some 31,000 excess deaths – mostly people over 75 – were reported by the Office of National Statistics, the highest figure since 2008.Since wind is intermittent, it displaces CCGT power and compromises the economics of that.Note that in the main capacity figures published, those for wind and solar are adjusted to allow for intermittency, by a factor of 0.43 for wind and 0.17 for solar PV, hence 'declared net capacity' (DNC) – “the nominal maximum capability of a generating set to supply electricity to consumers”.The 78.3 GWe total above is thus less than the sum of the individual actual capacities.Gross production comprised 72 TWh (21%) nuclear, 143 TWh (42%) from gas, 31 TWh (9%) from coal (less than half the 2015 figure, due to doubling of the carbon price floor to £18), 1.8 TWh from oil, and 24.5% from renewables: 37.4 TWh (11%) from wind, 10.4 TWh from solar PV, 8 TWh hydro and pumped storage, 30 TWh from biofuels including waste.

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Currently, there are 15 operating reactors in the UK totalling 9.5 GWe capacity.The company is working on the development of four 300 MWe open cycle gas turbine units, intending to commit when “the UK capacity market clears at a price that provides a robust underpinning for such investment.” Two could be online by 2021, and the other two by 2024.In November 2015 the government articulated new policy priorities for UK energy, involving possibly phasing out coal-fired generation without CO2 abatement in 2025, building new gas-fired plants, and much greater reliance on nuclear power and offshore wind to grapple with “a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plant” and undue reliance on coal.Drax is seen to be the biggest single loser from the removal of the Climate Change Levy exemption for renewables in August 2015.Three of the six Drax units are now converted to biomass and in 2016 produced 12.7 TWh, accounting for 65% of the plant’s output.

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