Closures highlight UK’s growing reliance on fewer power plants

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The threatened closure of Killingholme 2 combined cycle turbine plant is set to make the UK more reliant on power plants that already make a major contribution to the country’s power generation.

Paul Verrill, director of energy data specialists EnAppSys, told Power Engineering International the potential closure at Killingholme 2 (E.ON), following on from other potential closures at plants such as Killingholme 1 (Centrica), Brigg, Barry and Peterborough, highlights the varying degrees of success for CCGT plants within the GB power market.
“At one end of the market three of the most utilised plants, Damhead Creek, Marchwood and Pembroke – which provide 13.6 per cent of the CCGT capacity in the market, provided 34.5 per cent of total generation in February 2015. By contrast a set of plants including Brigg, Barry, Killingholme 2 (E.ON), Peterborough, Peterhead and Rye House – which provided 12.4 per cent of the CCGT capacity in the market – provided just 0.3% of power output over the same period.

“With the UK’s electrical demand falling back to levels not seen since the early 1990s in this post-recession era and with the rise of imports of power from Europe and generation from wind farms, the demand for generation from CCGT plants has fallen even as coal plants have closed over time.

“Without sufficient support from the Capacity Mechanism – with these closing plants having fallen outside of the auctioned capacity – such levels of generation are unlikely to support these plants with cheaper OCGT [open cycle gas turbine] and gas engine plants more likely to dominate the fringes of the GB market.”

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