Bassetlaw's West Burton power station turned on to help National Grid cope with low winds

Two units at Bassetlaw’s West Burton power station were turned on yesterday to help meet the UK’s electricity needs.

By Sam Jackson
Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 12:29 pm

EDF Energy has confirmed that West Burton A, near Retford, was put into service on Monday morning.

The power station is due to be decommissioned in 2022 but it is still at the ready if the UK needs more electricity.

Warm and still autumn weather has meant wind farms have not generated as much power as normal and so West Burton A was required to provide stability to the grid.

West Burton Power Station was fired up on Monday morning. (File photograph: CHRIS ETCHELLS)

An EDF spokesperson said: “Two units at the station have helped to balance the UK electricity system in order to ensure security of supply.”

The use of coal power to balance the grids is not unusual, but is becoming less common as the UK moves away from a reliance on the fossil fuel.

There are currently only two coal plants connected to the UK grid - West Burton A, and the station Ratcliffe-on-Soar, which is set to be decommissioned by 2024.

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A National Grid Electricity System Operator spokesperson said: “As Britain’s electricity system operator, our role is to draw on the available electricity generation to ensure supply and demand remain in balance second by second.

“In balancing the electricity system, we take actions in economical order and not on the basis of generation type.

"Depending on system conditions, some power sources may be better at meeting a balancing requirement than others – so the most cost-effective solution to ensure safe, secure system operation will be sought.

“We have a diverse range of generation types available to us to draw on to balance supply and demand, which is one of the reasons Britain has one of the most reliable electricity systems in the world.”

The UK’s electricity system has seen a 66 per cent decrease in emissions since 2013, including a 97 per cent decrease in coal use since 2012.

Yesterday wind and solar power each made up a higher proportion of the electricity mix on average than coal.

Zero carbon generation made up almost 27 per cent of the mix across the day.