Rise in coal power recorded in UK

A summary of the UK electricity market indicates Britain’s 1Q15 fuel mix was powered by a rise in coal-fired generation.

Energy data analyst EnAppSys found that coal was the dominant source of power in the first three months of the year, accounting for 33 per cent of the country’s fuel mix. It had the largest output volumes, outperforming the 9.1 GW generated by CCGT plants.

Levels of coal-fired power generation rose 8.5 per cent to 13.3 GW in the first three months of 2015. Wind also had high output during the period, reaching a 4.6 G W.
Paul Verrill
Levels of nuclear generation (7.8 GW) were up almost 30 per cent on the previous quarter.

Paul Verrill, Director of EnAppSys, said: “Coal was once again the major contributor to the UK power mix, as it was during the first quarter of 2014. With the doubling of the carbon price support in the next financial year, the coal fleet may be under greater pressure in the future, but in the first three months of this year, coal prices were sufficiently low enough to allow coal plants to generate power whenever they were available.”

He continued: “The sharp rise in nuclear generation was not that surprising given the outages that occurred at the back end of last year. This led to lower-than-expected nuclear output in 4Q14 but some of these plants have now come back on stream.

“At these prices even the best CCGT plants can only hope to make tight margins, with a challenge ahead for large CCGT new-build plants to demonstrate an attractive return even with capacity payments on the horizon.”

“The general drive to move thermal generation from the higher emitting coal stations to newer gas fired stations is going to need significant growth in carbon costs and static or falling gas prices”

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