Drax acquires Billington Bioenergy

By Drax Group | March 05, 2015

Drax has announced the acquisition of Billington Bioenergy Ltd., the U.K.’s second largest wood pellet distributor. The move signals the power generator’s intention to enter the country’s growing biomass heat sector and complements the company’s core business.

As a formerly coal-fired generator, Drax has transformed itself into the U.K.’s largest renewable power generator by replacing much of its coal capacity with biomass. It is now a world leader in sourcing sustainable biomass through Drax Biomass and supplying renewable electricity to businesses through Haven Power. Combined with BBE’s experience and extensive network, this expertise provides an opportunity to grow a significant market for wood pellets as a source of sustainable heat in the U.K.

Wood pellets are a sustainable form of renewable heating, offering an attractive alternative to fossil fuels such as heating oil, LPG and solid fuels. They are widely used throughout Europe, but their usage has only recently begun to increase in the U.K., supported by the government's Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.  This market is anticipated to grow from the current levels of circa 200 thousand metric tons in 2013 to more than 1 million metric tons per annum by 2020.

“This is an exciting opportunity to help transform the U.K. heat market in the same way we have made the U.K. power market so much less dependent on high carbon fossil fuels,” said Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax Group. “Biomass is a cost-effective, low carbon and dependable source of heat which homes and businesses can rely on. BBE is a great business, it shares our customer service ethos and unswerving commitment to sustainability so I am delighted to be working with them.”

“This is great news for our customers and our suppliers,” said Roger Pearson, managing director of BBE. “We have been really impressed by the Drax team, their vision and their commitment to quality, customer service and sustainability. BBE shares these core values and together we will build the U.K. biomass heat market to where we all believe it should be.”

“I am immensely proud of the business we have grown at BBE and would not seek new partners lightly but Drax made it clear that it wants to play a key role to help develop the marketplace for sustainable wood pellet heating for the long term,” said Edward Billington, BBE strategy director. “That is a prize that anyone who cares about decarbonisation would want to see. Drax remains committed to the network of suppliers and installers, with which we have worked so closely. This partnership is very good news for wood pellet heating in the U.K., and we are delighted to be working with Drax.”

BBE will be continuing to run from its Liverpool office, and all the team and existing arrangements will remain unchanged.