A series of new battery power-storage plants and two small new gas power stations will be built in the UK following the award of subsidies designed to bolster energy supply and head off the threat of shortages. But government hopes of an ambitious “dash for gas” were dealt another blow after this week’s auction of subsidies to build backup capacity for Britain’s energy network. No new gas power station of a significant scale won a subsidy contract in the bidding process, where companies and technologies competed to provide backup power for the lowest price during the winter of 2020-21. However, the British Gas owner, Centrica, won support for a small-scale gas power plant to be built by 2019 at King’s Lynn in Norfolk. An extension will also be added to US company InterGen’s gas plant in Spalding, Lincolnshire. Analysts at Barclays banking group said: “Overall we believe the auction will largely be viewed as a disappointment by the UK government in terms of securing the significant levels of new gas generation capacity they hoped for in order to ensure security of supply.”
Guardian 9th Dec 2016 read more »
Britain will pay almost £130m in subsidies to keep dirty old coal plants running through the winter of 2020-21, after they proved a cheaper option for keeping the lights on than building big new gas plants. The Government on Friday awarded £1.2bn of subsidy contracts through its capacity market auction to companies that could help ensure Britain has the power it needs in four years’ time at the lowest cost. The subsidies, the lion’s share of which went to existing gas, coal and nuclear plants, will cost a typical household £14 on their energy bill in 2020. However, ministers estimate the scheme will also save households £12 in wholesale energy costs by avoiding price spikes that could have been seen if power supplies ran low. The Government is keen to see new gas plants built as a cleaner replacement for old coal plants, which it wants to shut by 2025. It hailed the capacity market as a success after securing the construction of two mid-sized gas plants, as well as a raft of new battery storage projects. But analysts at Barclays said they believed the auction “will largely be viewed as a disappointment by the UK government in terms of securing the significant levels of new gas generation capacity they hoped for”.
Telegraph 9th Dec 2016 read more »
Some of Britain’s most polluting power stations will receive a share of more than £150 million of public money paid to meet peak winter demand. Coal-fired generators including the big Drax plant in North Yorkshire and RWE’s Aberthaw plant in south Wales are among the winners of contracts in the government’s annual auction for back-up electricity supplies for 2020-21, despite plans to shut them by 2026 to reduce carbon emissions. Elderly coal plants and small, polluting diesel generators will receive £154 million from the auction, the results of which were announced yesterday. Neil Clitheroe, global retail director at ScottishPower, which has called for higher investment in large new gas plants, criticised the favouring of dirty, ageing plants over investment in cleaner, gas-burning stations.
Times 10th Dec 2016 read more »