National Grid ESO confirms early detail of winter coal contracts

At the request of BEIS, the ESO has agreed contracts with Drax and EDF to extend the life of coal fired power plants this winter.

The new winter contingency contracts will only be used as a last resort and to ensure resilience and security of supply.

Total capacity of 1940MW will be available from the following coal units:

  • 2 x 400MW units at West Burton A
  • 2 x 570MW units at Drax

Negotiations continue with a third generator for a fifth coal unit.

The upfront cost is expected to be in the region of £220m to £420m. The cost will be determined by whether a fifth coal unit is added and how much coal will be procured.

These units will be available from 1 October 2022 until 31 March 2023, with costs recovered through BSUoS between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023. The costs will be spread equally between these days.

The units contracted will not be available to the open market and will only be dispatched at the request of ESO. These contracts are only intended to be used when all commercial options have been exhausted within the Balancing Mechanism.

The ESO will publish a full Winter Outlook, which helps to inform the electricity industry and prepare for the winter ahead, later this Autumn.