Consumers face paying for significantly more back-up power stations than planned next winter after National Grid warned that many plants were expected to renege on multimillion-pound contracts to keep the lights on. The government’s “capacity market” scheme is intended to guard against the risk of blackouts as Britain builds more wind and solar farms by ensuring there are enough plants to meet demand even on dark, windless winter evenings. It awards consumer-funded contracts to companies that guarantee they can provide electricity when needed, primarily from gas, coal and nuclear plants and batteries. The government has now approved a significant increase in the final allocation of contracts for next winter, after National Grid warned that many plants that had already secured contracts were unlikely to deliver. The company responsible for keeping the lights on said that some coal-fired plants with capacity market contracts for this winter had failed to deliver during repeated supply crunches in recent months, and there was a “significant risk” of a similar problem next winter. It said it was also concerned that other plants may not be available as contracted because of safety shutdowns, plans to close, the owners going into administration or proposed plants not being completed on time.
Times 15th Feb 2021 read more »