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Gas displaces coal as top UK energy source

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World Coal,

Natural gas contributed 29% of the UK’s electricity in Q2 – a 9% increase on the first three months of the year, according to figures from EnAppSys, as coal-fired power plant outages and lower gas prices saw the fuel move back into favour.

As a result, gas provided more electricity than coal over the quarter, which saw its share of the electricity mix drop from 35% to 26%. With the onset of warmer weather, operators had chosen to begin maintenance on several coal-fired plants, helping to lower coal-fired generation, while lower-than-expected levels of wind generation also boosted gas.

“For the first month of the period, gas prices remained high enough to see no change in levels of coal-fired generation but from early May some coal units struggling with emissions limits anyway began to be displaced by gas-fired units,” said Paul Verrill, director of EnAppSys.

“High supplies of gas in storage coupled with low levels of gas burn resulted in an inverted supply crisis where too much gas was going into storage. As a result, the system was rapidly running out of storage capacity. In response, gas prices had to fall to a point at which there would be higher levels of gas burn to offset the supplies of gas entering the system," Verrill concluded.

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