Eggborough, one of the UK’s largest coal power stations, is set to close before the end of the year as it’s become less and less economical to generate power. The power station is capable of generating power from biomass as well as coal, however after failing to obtain a Capacity Market contract in the last round of auctions. Many of the UK’s gas and coal fired power plants rely heavily on winning Capacity Market contracts in order to remain profitable, however Eggborough have missed out this time round, causing its imminent closure.
Previously, Eggborough power station had been awarded Capacity Market contracts, enabling it to keep production going over the last winter season. The MD of Eggborough stated:
The Government aim to close all coal fired power stations has led to a significant amount of closures. However some power stations have been able to convert to biomass either partially or fully. For example, Drax power station has managed to convert 4 of its units to biomass burning stations, rather than coal burning. This has been enabled through Government renewable power schemes. Coal is supplying the UK with minimal power at the minute, and it on a decline.
While coal used to provide a contact, steady supply of electricity to the UK, it is now providing a small percentage of power to the daily stack. Gas fired power is being more and more popular, with gas power stations winning the majority of Capacity Market auctions. Throughout recent winter months, gas fired power have contributed between 40-60% of UK supply. Meanwhile, coal has supplied between 3-15% of UK power generation.
Eggborough power station will close by September this year, and will be unable to provide back-up power over the next winter period. However, the Government has awarded many other gas power stations with Capacity Market contracts, which should help keep a steady supply of power to the UK grid.
Sources: the Guardian, BBC News, ITV News, the Telegraph, Drax, Eggborough, Energy Live News, etc.