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Britain forced to fire up coal plant amid record power prices and winter squeeze

By Paul Homewood

h/t Ian Magness

Young Rachel seems surprised!!


The UK has turned to a coal-fired power station to help boost its energy supply after global gas and power prices hit new highs and wind farms produced very low levels of electricity.

National Grid ESO, which balances Britain’s electricity supply and demand, asked EDF to fire up two units at its West Burton A power station in Lincolnshire. They had previously been on standby.

The Government plans to phase-out coal-fired power by 2024 in an effort to slash carbon emissions. Most coal-fired power stations have closed, but some remain available to help meet demand – particularly in emergencies.

Wind power now generates about 20pc of UK electricity across the year but varies hugely day by day. On Monday morning, output fell to 474 megawatts compared to a record 14,286 megawatts on May 21, Bloomberg said.

At 11am on Monday morning, coal was providing 3.9pc of Britain’s power mix; 47pc from gas; 1.9pc from wind; and 11.4pc from solar panels.

It comes as gas, which produces more than 35pc of UK electricity across the year, trades at more than three times normal rates amid a global supply crunch.

Many countries have been replacing coal-fired power stations with gas-fired alternatives, which produce less carbon emissions, but the high price of gas is making coal more appealing again.

High carbon charges on coal in Europe have been one reason for the high gas price, pushing up demand for gas by making coal more expensive.

National Grid ESO warned in July that Britain needed to prepare for a squeeze on energy supplies this winter as two nuclear plants shut down and workers return to the office.

The Hunterston B and Dungeness B nuclear stations are both due to shut within months, taking away a stable energy source at a time when unpredictable wind and solar generation is an increasingly part of the country’s power mix.

Don’t worry! We’ll soon have all of that lovely hydrogen. What could possibly go wrong?

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