UK Extends Life of Third Coal Plant to Secure Winter Electricity

Uniper SE’s British coal plant will extend the life of a unit that was set to shut down this year as the country seeks to secure energy supplies ahead of winter. Ratcliffe-1, which has a 500-megawatt capacity, was due to close at the end of September. Now, Uniper will keep it online for another two years, the company said in a notice posted to the European Energy Exchange AG.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng, who was previously the business secretary, had asked coal-fired power producers to delay phasing out their units as Europe faces a shortage of natural gas. Using coal means less gas is needed to produce power.

Uniper follows Electricite de France SA and Drax Group Plc in keeping coal capacity in the UK online beyond scheduled closure dates. EDF will keep open a unit of its West Burton plant — also originally scheduled to close in September — until March 2023. Drax, which now focuses on biomass-fired generation, has announced the same decision for its last two coal units.