The move to power the coal-fired stations comes as temperatures in the UK are predicted to fall as low as -15 degrees in some areas of Scotland, which beats the previous record of -10.4 degrees set in January
The National Grid ESO has fired up its emergency coal stations as the coldest night of the year so far beckons. A warning has been issued by the grid as the cold spell this evening could mean more energy is needed to keep Britain’s lights on. The ESO has confirmed that four of its five winter coal units will be warmed today in preparation. The group said that the notification was “not confirmation” that the unit will be used but it “will be available to the ESO, if required.” In a message released this morning, it said: “The ESO has issued an additional notification that we will warm four of our five winter contingency coal units for potential use on Tuesday 7 March.”
It added: “The ESO as a prudent system operator has developed these tools for an additional contingency to operate the network as normal. “This does not mean electricity supplies are at risk.”
The energy group have also issued an electricity margin notice (EMN) for four hours between 4.30pm to 8.30pm this evening. The National Grid again noted that this was a “routine tool” that it used most winters which means that it asks generators to “make available any additional generation capacity they may have”. This is due to the heightened demand for energy it expects for this evening. This is the fourth time this winter so far that the National Grid has issued this notification.
It was previously said the generators would be deployed only as a “last resort” to prevent blackouts, which is understood to be low. The move to power the coal-fired stations comes as temperatures in the UK are predicted to fall as low as -15 degrees in some areas of Scotland. This temperature reading will beat the current record already set this year which saw Drumnadrochit near Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland drop to -10.4 degrees on January 19. The Met Office and the UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have issued warnings for snow and ice for large parts of England, Scotland, Wales and, Northern Ireland, this week.
According to the Met Office, the cause of the significant drop in temperatures in the UK has been due to a “highly amplified” jet stream sweeping arctic air across the country. This, alongside an area of lower pressure over the Mid-North Atlantic, has pushed air up into northern areas and back down towards the UK.