The UK energy market has seen a surge in the use of coal as higher gas prices have forced utilities to look for alternate options.
As wholesale gas prices hit 10-year highs, forcing consumer energy prices up, coal fired power has become significantly cheaper than its gas counterpart.
“It became cheaper to generate power from coal than from gas in late August,” Iain Staffell, a lecturer in sustainable energy at the centre for environmental policy of Imperial College said. “Coal plants are consistently ‘in the money’ at the moment, meaning they can generate power profitably all day and night.”
The recent resurgence of the use of coal is likely to continue to the end of the year, with analysts expecting gas prices to remain high throughout winter as a result of increased demand for heating.
A report from April this year, found that the UK’s energy sector cannot depend on gas during cases of extreme weather, such as the Beast from the East that struck in March of this year, due to volatility within the market that saw coal step in to provide basedload power to keep Britain’s lights on.