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    Coal overtakes wind in UK power mix


It is rare for coal to provide more electricity than wind in the summer.

by: William Powell

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Coal overtakes wind in UK power mix

Coal edged past wind in the UK power mix in the week starting September 6, according to GridWatch data, as a heatwave began. Gas accounted for 49.83% and nuclear for 14.69% (as of 09.21 BST September 7) while solar had 7.3% and wind and coal had 2.81% and 2.87% respectively of the power mix. Other renewables and imports contributed.

Coal is normally brought on line during the winter months but National Grid called on coal-fired generator EDF to balance the market, the power reportedly coming from its West Burton A plants – one of the country's last remaining such plants.

Gas could have supplied more with only 72mn m³/day flowing into power stations: earlier in the year it had been flowing over 90mn m³/day. But prices for spot gas deliveries are exceptionally high and will start to feed into retail bills next month.

Low wind generation, despite growing capacity, will be a problem for the government as it tries to push through more green energy construction. The government is already consulting on how to stop energy retailers branding their power as green when it is not.

On the gas supply side, about a quarter of the total UK inflows came from Norway's Ormen Lange field, supplying 45mn m³/d out of the projected 160mn m³/d, while LNG terminals were flowing at a rate equivalent to 7.5mn m³/d. Some of the inflows left the UK through interconnectors, or were injected into UK storage for winter use. Total UK demand was about 147mn m³/day.