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Coal Still Tops In UK

April 30, 2015

By Paul Homewood





Meanwhile, back in the real world!


PEI report:


One third of Britain’s electricity was provided by the coal-fired power sector over the last six months, despite the loss of 5 GW of coal plants over the last two years.
In the October 2014 to end of March 2015 period, coal provided 33 per cent of total power generation, compared to gas at 25 per cent and nuclear at 18 per cent.
Paul Verrill, director of energy data specialists EnAppSys, told
Power Engineering International:Coal-fired power stations continued to provide the bulk of power generation for the GB electricity market during winter 2014-15.

 Coal digging

“This position was impacted by gas price increases towards the beginning of Q4 2014 that were driven by the increased demand for heating, and followed a summer period in which gas plants were highly competitive against coal-fired plants. The dominance of the coal-fired fleet came despite the loss of some coal capacity in recent times.”
“In hindsight,
fears of blackouts going into the winter period seem to have been exaggerated, as gas plants saw overall levels of power output at just over a quarter of their installed capability. In fact a number of gas plants failed to achieve sufficient run hours to forestall closures in 2015.”
Meanwhile there was good news for
wind power, but at the expense of gas generation.
Wind farms saw load factors of around 38 per cent – above those for
gas-fired plants – enabling wind to provide 11 per cent of overall generation.
Verrill told
PEi, “This growth of the wind fleet meant that a quarter of total power requirements were satisfied by either interconnector supply from other countries or from renewable sources, which, coupled with falling demand, squeezed the requirements for generation from thermal (coal or gas) power sources."

The total power mix for the period is:

  • Coal: 12,768MW; 33 per cent.
  • Gas: 9,577MW; 25 per cent.
  • Nuclear: 6,926MW; 18 per cent.
  • Wind: 4,459MW; 11 per cent.
  • Interconnectors: 2,186MW; 6 per cent.
  • Biomass: 1,810MW; 5 per cent.
  • Hydro: 987MW; 3 per cent.
  • Solar: 215MW; 1 per cent.


Talk of closures is interesting. I recently asked DECC, under FOI, to provide a list of power plants either due or expected to close by 2025. They have told me that they may claim exemption under “Commercial Interests”, though they are still considering.


Note also the wonderful contribution made by solar! The actual figure is 0.55%!

  1. Ben Vorlich permalink
    April 30, 2015 1:15 pm

    It doesn’t matter what the average contribution by wind is; what matters is the minimum as there is no way of switching on anymore.

    On 24th April 2015 about 08:30 for UK, France, Germany, Spain and Denmark total demand was round about 165GW, the power supplied by wind was 4.5GW, about half the demand from Denmark on its own. As the northern part of the EU was in virtually windless conditions, even at sea then the opportunity to crank up wind to meet peak demand wasn’t there.

  2. Derek Buxton permalink
    April 30, 2015 2:24 pm

    “Solar at 1%”, perhaps they included the fire at Hove Town Hall apparently caused by a solar panel. It also resulted in special instructions going out to all Fire Stations.

  3. avro607 permalink
    April 30, 2015 5:14 pm

    It is obvious from the above figures that wind is useless as an energy supply for a modern,civilised,industrial nation.
    Milliband ,Clegg and Cameron have together signed an agreement to urge for more de-fossilisation of energy supplies at the forthcoming UN conference in Paris at the end of this year.
    It is sickening to realise that your own Government is determined to destroy this nation of ours,but then they are all part of the plan to de-industrialise all the countries of the developed world.You would think that such an ambitious enterprise would be in their manifesto.

  4. May 1, 2015 5:38 am

    How often does wind supply 11%? That figure looks suspect to me. I’d have said below 7%.

  5. AndyG55 permalink
    May 1, 2015 7:06 am

    I have tried to get an answer as to what percentage wind could guarantee to supply for 95% of the time..

    but none of the wind cultists really want to answer that question 🙂

    A couple of weeks ago it was below 4% of nameplate for a 3-4 days in a row.

    very useful… NOT !!

  6. tom0mason permalink
    May 4, 2015 6:03 am

    Maybe the BBC should commission a new show called ‘BTU’s from the Black-Stuff’ with the catch-phrase “Gissa light” taking on a whole different connotation.

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