UK Coal Plants Fired Up AGAIN as Renewable Energy Output Fails

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From Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t redge; Coal plants scheduled for demolition in March 2023 have been fired up to rescue Britain’s electricity grid. My question – what is the plan for next winter?

Coal power stations fired up and customers paid to cut energy use in UK cold snap

National Grid asks Drax and EDF to start warming three plants and says it will activate its live demand flexibility service on Monday evening

Miles Brignall Mon 23 Jan 2023 09.47 AEDT

With a high pressure weather system with associated light winds likely to dominate for a few more days, National Grid’s electricity system operator (ESO) said early on Sunday it had asked Drax to start “warming” two of its coal units at its North Yorkshire site and EDF to do the same for one at its West Burton plant in Nottinghamshire to ensure supplies on Monday.

..

The request over the power plants followed a similar one in the middle of December, although back then the coal-fired stations were not used, as the operator generated enough power from other sources.“Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Monday evening,” the ESO said. “We have instructed coal-fired power units to be available to increase electricity supplies should it be needed tomorrow evening.

With much of the UK enjoying light winds and a cold sunny Sunday, wind power accounted for just 6.89 gigawatts, about 17.6% of the total being generated.

…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/jan/22/coal-fired-power-stations-restarted-again-as-uk-cold-snap-bites

Back in July 2022, Drax announced it had agreed to defer decommissioning of its coal assets until March 2023.

Six-month extension of coal operations at request of UK Government

6 July 2022

In response to increased pressure on European gas markets and associated concerns about electricity security of supply in the UK this winter, the UK Government has asked owners of legacy coal-fired generation assets, including Drax, to work together with National Grid to temporarily extend the life of their coal generation assets to March 2023.

At the request of the UK Government, Drax has now entered into an agreement with National Grid – in its capacity as the electricity systems operator – pursuant to which its two coal-fired units at Drax Power Station will remain available to provide a “winter contingency” service to the UK power system from October 2022 until the end of March 2023. The units will not generate commercially for the duration of the agreement and only operate if and when instructed to do so by National Grid.

…Read more: https://www.drax.com/investors/six-month-extension-of-coal-operations-at-request-of-uk-government/

Who thinks Britain is ready to decommission its remaining coal assets?

How much of everyone’s power bill is the cost of keeping Drax and other coal plants ready to roll at any moment, because the useless renewable fleet cannot reliably cover Britain’s energy needs?

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