National Grid puts coal plants on emergency standby

Standby coal power units have been asked to warm up amid cold snap

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Britain’s electricity operator has asked coal-fired power stations to warm up as cold weather sparked fears of a supply shortage.

The warming notification for Drax units 5 and 6 and a unit at West Burton is part of the winter contingency contract the ESO has negotiated following a request from the government.

The coal plants will prepare to operate if required as temperatures dip below zero and demand soars.

It was the first time last month when two coal-fired generation units at Drax power station in Yorkshire were instructed to be warmed up and ready for potential usage.

However, a few hours later, the ESO stood down these two power stations as there were other sources that could meet Britain’s energy needs.

On Sunday morning, National Grid ESO stated: “This morning we have issued a notification to warm the winter contingency coal units.

This measure should give the public confidence in Monday’s energy supply. This notification is not confirmation that these units will be used on Monday, but that they will be available to the ESO if required.

“The ESO as a prudent system operator has these tools for additional contingency to operate the network as normal and the public should continue to use energy as normal.”