In response to the UK Government’s request in March this year to continue contingency contracts, EDF and Drax have confirmed that their coal units will not be available for another winter and have begun decommissioning.
An ESO spokesperson said: “At the request of Government in March 2023, the ESO has undertaken discussions with the operators of two winter 2022/23 contingency coal plants to establish whether these arrangements could be extended for a further winter. These discussions have now concluded. Both operators have confirmed that they will not be able to make their coal units available for a further winter and have begun the decommissioning process.”
Uniper’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal unit however – which also received a contingency contract last winter – has returned to the market having secured a Capacity Market contract.
In its Early View of Winter 2023/23 report, the ESO found that the de-rated margin in the base Case scenario (capacity across all providers) is 4.8GW (roughly 8%) which is slightly higher than last year and is in line with margins across previous winters.
The ESO attributed this increased margin to the availability of additional new generation, improved data quality, the availability of generation units that were partially or fully unavailable last winter and Uniper’s coal unit returning to the capacity market this year.
Earlier this month, Octopus Energy called on ESO to “pay customers not coal” by using consumer consumption flexibility to reduce the UK’s coal consumption.