All four of the UK’s remaining coal power plants will be online over winter, after Uniper reached an agreement with the Government to extend the life of its remaining unit in Nottinghamshire.
The coal unit Ratcliffe power station will now continue to be available for power generation until the end of March, rather than closing this month as originally scheduled.
It is one of four units available for generation at the central England site.
Uniper is also reviewing the potential for the unit to remain a potential power source until the September 2024 phase out date.
A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the unit will now continue to be available until 31 March 2023, for dispatch by National Grid ESO. We are also reviewing the potential for operation after this time and are planning to make the unit available until the September 2024 coal phase out date, with the power station still set to close at the end of September 2024.”
Uniper’s plant will remain available for dispatch by National Grid’s electricity system operator (NGESO).
This follows Drax and EDF previously reaching deals with Downing Street keep their coal plants available over the winter.
There is also Kilroot power station in Country Antrim, Northern Ireland, owned by the AES Corporation.
It continues to operate as a coal power plant, but is scheduled to be converted to gas power in the next two years.
The Government is scrambling to ensure secure energy supplies this winter to stave off potential blackouts if Russia further squeezes gas flows into the continent.
It wants to keep coal powers on standby to meet domestic energy needs in case of shortages from other sources such as renewables and gas.
While NGESO is currently forecasting that the UK will have sufficient supplies this winter, its predictions are based on electricity being available for purchase via interconnectors with Europe.
Mike Lockett, Uniper UK Country Chairman, said: “Following a request from the Government to keep our unit earmarked for closure in September 2022 open, I’m pleased that we’ve reached an agreement to help bolster the UK’s supply security with National Grid ESO during this winter. I’d like to thank all our employees at Ratcliffe power station for their contribution in ensuring that we can continue to operate the unit.
Uniper is set to be fully nationalised by the German government, after it struggled to continue operations amid soaring wholesale costs.