UK plans to delay closure of coal-fired power plants to ensure power supply this winter

By    1 Jun,2022

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict has led to a global energy crisis, the British government is considering postponing plans to shut down some local coal-fired power plants so as to ensure the supply of electricity this winter.


It is reported that the British government has asked the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) to design a framework to encourage power plants to keep their generating stations up and running.

European countries are developing contingency plans to deal with possible gas supply disruptions triggered by the Ukraine crisis. Russia supplies about 40 percent of Europe's natural gas, and although the EU has not yet embargoed Russian gas, Russia may voluntarily disrupt gas supplies, and the country has now cut off gas supplies to Finland, Poland, Bulgaria and the Netherlands, among others.

The U.K. gets about 50 percent of its electricity from natural gas, and although the U.K. is less dependent on Russian gas than the EU, with only 4 percent of its gas needing to be imported from Russia, the tight supply situation has sharply pushed up gas prices, making it harder for the U.K. to get gas from other countries.

A British government spokesman said this week that while there is no shortage of electricity supply, existing coal-fired power plants may need to be allowed to provide additional backup power this winter if necessary. The spokesman stressed that Britain will not lose power this winter and will not implement energy rationing.

The U.K. had planned to shut down some coal-fired power plants this year and to stop using all coal power by October 2024. However, the U.K. is now in a dilemma, as it wants to enhance energy security and keep prices at affordable levels for consumers, while the U.K. government remains committed to reducing carbon emissions.

Although through the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the United Kingdom was able to temporarily maintain the supply of natural gas, but if coal-fired power plants and nuclear power plants in accordance with the original schedule for the shutdown, the country's power supply situation this winter is not optimistic.