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News from the UK Power Industry 23rd April 2019

Posted by: James Turner
Industry News

UK breaks coal-free power record over Easter weekend

Off the back of the UK’s record-breaking coal-free first quarter in 2019, Britain has broken its record for the longest continuous period without generating electricity from coal. 

The news comes thanks to the Easter weekend break which saw high temperatures, resulting in a smaller energy demand. National Grid said that the coal-free period lasted more than 90 hours before coming to an end on Monday afternoon.

It is the longest period since the industrial revolution and breaks the previous record set in April 2018 of 76 hours and 10 minutes.

Coal power was subsidised by a combination of gas, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass and hydro. National Grid reported that the UK generated a quarter of its energy from solar over the weekend, with similar portions from nuclear and gas. The rest was imported from Europe.

Duncan Burt, director of operations at National Grid, said: “It's all about the sunny weather we've been seeing, so energy demand is low. There has been lots of lovely solar power off the panels too.”

Coal made up less than 10% of the country's energy mix last year and will be less than that again in 2019, according to National Grid.

However, experts warned that power generated by coal was largely being replaced by gas, another fossil fuel, rather than renewable sources.

They also said a reliance on gas made the UK vulnerable to the whims of international markets, and was not clean enough to meet the UK's legal targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Muna Suleiman, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "89 hours of coal-free electricity is great. Let's make this all day every day. Electricity generated by renewable sources is a key part of the fight against climate chaos so it’s time to remove all the blockers to renewable energy. The government must prioritise the development of sources such as solar and onshore wind.” Full story.

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Green light for Grimsby energy centre

As part of a £300 million government investment, North East Lincolnshire Council has granted planning consent for a sustainable energy centre located on vacant land at the South Humber Bank Power Station site in Grimsby. 

Work is set to commence in Autumn 2019. The project will create 600 jobs during construction and a further 50 permanent jobs once the plant becomes operational in late 2022.

The South Humber Bank Energy Centre will be powered by approximately 620,000 tonnes per annum of refuse-derived fuel and will generate enough electrical power for about 500,000 homes and represents an investment of approximately £300m.

EP UK Investments Ltd (EPUKI) submitted its application to North East Lincolnshire Council in December 2018 following consultation with key stakeholders and the local community.

James Crankshaw, head of engineering for EPUKI , said: “We look forward to working with our construction partners, established and new fuel suppliers, North East Lincolnshire Council and the local community over coming months as we move quickly towards construction.

“Unlike many other energy from waste projects, the South Humber Bank Energy Centre is not dependent on securing a power purchase agreement, other subsidy or secured income such as a contract for difference. The energy centre will provide much needed new sustainable power generation and energy recovery facilities whilst creating local jobs.” Full story.

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