Three UK coal plants have been told to start warming up in case they are needed for the country’s energy supply as the cold weather begins to kick in.
National Grid ESO said it had given the instructions in light of forecasts showing electricity supply margins may be tighter than normal on Monday (January 23). It added it was also activating a live “demand flexibility service” – which allows the ESO to access additional flexibility when national demand is at its highest during peak winter days – between 5-6pm on Monday.
National Grid ESO said it had asked power station operator Drax to prepare two coal-fired units at its power station in Yorkshire and EDF to warm up its West Burton plant.
The scheme entitles some households with smart meters to discounts if they cut their use of electricity. It is due to stay in place until March, with 26 energy suppliers including Octopus Energy and EDF signed up to it, but until now has only been used in tests.
National Grid ESO added that its announcement should not be interpreted as a sign that electricity supplies are at risk and said “people should not be worried”. National Grid said in a tweet: These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need.”
The cold weather means more people are heating their homes which increases demand for energy, but a lack of wind has reduced the amount of renewable energy available.
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