Gas And Coal Power Plants Receive Huge Payments To Keep The Lights On

  • Date: 04/02/17
  • Andrew Ward, Financial Times

Coal-fired power generators were among the winners of contracts worth £378m to generate electricity next winter, highlighting the tension between government efforts to reduce carbon emissions and the need for energy security.

Gas-fired power stations secured the biggest share of contracts — almost 40 per cent — in the capacity auction held by National Grid, the UK electricity system operator, to ensure adequate supplies during the winter months when demand is highest.

Coal and biomass plants won a further fifth of the contracts, which guarantee power companies extra payments for generating electricity when supplies are tight. The auction results were announced late on Friday.

Critics have highlighted the apparent contradiction between government plans to phase out all coal-fired power from the UK by 2025 and the provision of top-up payments — often described as subsidies — that help keep coal plants open.

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