National Grid has instructed an emergency coal power station that it should start heating up, as the country prepares for a cold snap Tuesday.
If energy demand rises due to lower temperatures, the West Burton A plant in Nottinghamshire near Retford will be put on standby.
This plant was one of three due to close in September 2022, but they have been kept online in the event of an emergency. They have been heated up multiple times this winter but are not yet.
National Grid didn’t specify the trigger. It comes at a time when the Met Office predicts a cold snap lasting up to two weeks, with temperatures dropping below freezing in certain parts of the UK.
On Tuesday, widespread strikes in France are expected to occur over pension reform. This could have an impact on nuclear power production. Because the markets are connected to each other by power cables, this has an impact on Britain.
A spokesperson for the National Grid’s electricity network operator (ESO), stated that this notification was not confirmation that the unit would be used on Tuesday but that it would be available to ESO, if necessary.
“The ESO, as a prudent system operator, has created these tools to provide additional contingency for normal operation of the network. However, this does not mean that electricity supplies are at danger.
According to new forecasts, Europe will end winter with record gas reserves. This raises hopes that Europe’s current energy crisis won’t be repeated next winter.
High prices, mild weather and energy conservation efforts have all contributed to a decrease in demand for this fuel that is used to heat homes and produce electricity.
Cornwall Insight, an analyst in energy markets, projects that gas storage sites across Europe will still be between 45 and 61pc full at the end of winter.
This would make it easier to prepare for next winter, as Cornwall estimates that stores will be 97 percent full by September.
This optimistic outlook is good news for Russia’s prospects of avoiding another price crises. It is also a sign that Russia’s ability is diminishing to weaponize energy.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, cuts in Russian gas supplies to Europe have led to a rise in British prices and high inflation.
Although prices have dropped to pre-war levels in recent weeks, they are still about twice the long-term average.
Britain and Europe have tried to diversify their sources of gas supply by buying more from the US as well as shifting towards other energy sources.
Although Britain is less dependent than Europe on Russian gas, the two markets are linked via pipelines, and their prices are comparable.
Cornwall Insight reported that the immediate focus of analysts and governments will be on Europe’s recovery from the crisis. Or whether there will be a repeat in 2023 of the high prices, physical supply worries, and financial panics of 2022.
“The level of European gas storage inventories at the end of this winter will play a key role in determining this.”
In 2020, 54pc was the previous record for gas storage stocks ending winter.
However, it is not clear how easy stores can be maintained, and there are risks from weather conditions and Chinese demand.
Cornwall stated that “There are still meaningful and novel uncertainties, and risks.
“Any single factor can influence the rate and pattern of storage replenishment, and, perhaps, the cost of doing so.
It also added some of last year’s “panic”, which helped to keep prices down.