National Grid considers coal-fired units revival for winter 2023/24

The UK’s electricity system operator suggests that there will be enough available capacity to meet electricity demand, with the possibility of reviving coal-fired units to ensure reliability

National Grid ESO‘s assessment for the upcoming winter includes the reactivation of a coal contingency unit, additional generation capacity and increased battery storage and demand-side response capabilities.

It has been reported that National Grid is in discussions with Drax to potentially reactivate two coal-fired units at its North Yorkshire plant in an effort to prevent winter outages.

This development comes as National Grid has provided its early view on winter conditions, indicating that there is expected to be sufficient available capacity to meet demand.

The assessment highlights a de-rated margin of 4.8GW (around 8%).

As part of its assessment for the upcoming winter, the electricity system operator included the reactivation of one coal contingency unit that was utilised in the previous winter.

Additionally, it assumes an additional 0.9GW of generation capacity (de-rated) from units that were partially or fully unavailable last winter.

A spokesperson for Drax told ELN: “As we announced in April, we have closed our coal units at Drax and have started the decommissioning process. Since then, we have had various discussions with the government and ESO, but we are not in negotiations to extend their availability into the coming winter.”

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