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Rising solar PV disrupts UK power industry

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World Coal,

The three months to June this year saw a significant year-on-year drop in output from the UK’s coal-fired power plants, according to recent data from EnAppSys, a energy market consultancy. Electricity generation from coal fell 43% on 2Q14 with coal’s share of the energy mix dropping to just 23% of the UK’s 33GW of total electricity generation, the company said.

The drop has been caused by a number of factors, including summer maintenance outages at coal-fired power plants, a doubling of the UK’s carbon price in April and a 153% increase in the generation of electricity from solar PV on2Q14. Overall solar capacity is now about 7 GW and its growth is having a significant impact on electricity market prices, said EnAppSys.

“Renewables are playing an increasingly important role in meeting the UK’s energy needs and, as the contribution increases, it must be assumed that its impact on pricing and supply issues will continue to grow,” said Paul Verrill, Director of EnAppSys. “If the capacity and output of solar PV and other renewables continues to grow, conventional power generators, such as CCGT and coal, will have to be more flexible to avoid oversupplying the network and paying the penalty of negative power prices.”

Combined renewables sources – including wind, biomass, solar PV and hydro – provided 20% of the UK’s energy needs in the quarter with gas providing 27%, nuclear 22% and interconnectors 8%.

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