Heatwave: UK activates coal plant, cost revealed

Coal power units were brought back online in the UK to meet high electricity demand during the heatwave, marking the end of a 46-day period without coal generation

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (NG ESO) instructed the activation of two coal units at the Ratcliffe power plant to cope with the escalating electricity demand during the recent heatwave.

The cost of firing up these units has been unveiled, shedding light on the financial implications of utilising coal as a response to the increased energy requirements.

According to information obtained from the ESO’s Sonar portal, the start-up price for both requests was £6,000 per hour.

Analysts estimate that Unit 3 incurred £21,500 in Balancing Mechanism (BM) Start-Up Costs and received £454,734 through the BM.

Similarly, Unit 4 was subject to £39,500 in BM Start-Up Costs and earned £426,150 through the BM.

Phil Hewitt, Director of EnAppSys, told Energy Live News: “These prices were relatively cheap considering the tightness of the system on Monday.

“Demand reached the top of the domestic availability stack in Britain, caused primarily by the heatwave and low wind generation, which meant that NG ESO had to rely on coal in the Balancing Mechanism.

“The two units that were fired up ended a 46-day period in which there was no coal generation in Britain.”

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