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UK faces tight power supplies this winter

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World Coal,

The National Grid, which owns and manages the UK’s electricity and gas distribution grids, is to spend £31.2 million this winter on back-up electricity supplies as the capacity margin could fall to just 1.2% - its lowest level since the 2005/6.

“It’s clear that electricity margins for that coldest, darkest half hour of winter are currently tighter than they have been due to power stations closures,” said Cordi O’Hara, National Grid’s Director of Market Operation. “As system operator, we feel we’ve taken a sensible precaution again this winter to buy some extra services.”

The additional measures – which include paying utilities to keep shuttered plants on standby and paying industrial energy users to reduce demand – will take the available capacity margin to 5.1%.

A number of power plants have been forced to close this year due to European emissions regulations and a high price of carbon in the UK. These have included the coal-fired plants at Ironbridge and Ferrybridge.

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