Britain’s oldest coal-fired power plants are preparing to fire up their hoppers this week to avert a power shortfall as temperatures across the UK plunge and wind power wanes.
The cold snap ignited the winter’s first warning that Britain would run out of electricity unless idling coal plants ramp up to help meet demand.
The National Grid warned that the lights would “100%” go out unless an extra 2GW of power capacity was found.
The first negative supply forecast of the season spurred the operators of Britain’s oldest plants to offer their power at prices well above value.
The market price for power during peak demand hours this week climbed to around £140/MWh as the need for electric heating climbed and wind power output fell to a fraction of its potential on a windy day.