UK forced to fire up coal plant as Putin turns screw on EU's gas supply – crisis looms

VLADIMIR PUTIN has forced a coal comeback in Britain after his restriction of gas into Europe via Nord Stream 2 puts pressure on global supplies.

EU: Guy Verhofstadt calls to ‘reconsider’ Nord Stream 2

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The deal – agreed between the Russian leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – will see gas bypass Poland and Ukraine for Germany. But now Mr Putin is turning the screw on Berlin, hoping to avoid them implementing EU law across the system. While the UK is not a directly intended target of the Kremlin’s restriction, the country has now been forced to old methods to power up again. With gas prices already at a record high this summer, it has meant that more coal was already being burned to meet energy demands.

The cold beginning to the year saw many other countries dip into their gas reserves too, pushing up prices.

This has not been helped by the fact that wind farms still can’t generate as much wind as usual due to the autumn weather.

But making this worse is the threat of a gas supply crisis, as Britain buy a big bulk of Russian gas through the Netherlands.

An old coal plant has now been fired up in Lincolnshire, known as West Burton A, which had previously been on standby.

Plant

An old coal plant has now been fired up, West Burton A, which had previously been on standby. (Image: PA)

Putin

Russia will restrict gas through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (Image: PA)

This comes after a National Grid ESO spokesman said there had been a three-day period without coal being used for energy in mid-August.

The organisation in charge of balancing the UK’s electricity supply confirmed coal was now providing three percent of national power.

Coal contributed 1.6 percent of the UK’s electricity mix in 2020.

That’s a 25 percent decrease compared to five years ago.

But Mr Putin’s political games could derail that progress.

READ MORE: Russian nuclear-tipped torpedoes exposed by satellite

Merkel

The deal was agreed between the Russian leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Image: PA)

Gas had become the UK’s main energy source for power plants and for other industrial purposes as the plan was to phase at coal use 10 years ahead of Germany’s target.

But some experts have warned that the UK could see gas rationing, shutdowns and demand destruction.

This could be worrying for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as COP26 in Glasgow approaches, where global leaders meet to discuss their climate change goals.

Britain is aiming to achieve a net zero target by 2050, and phasing out coal was a key policy to help achieve this goal.

A National Grid spokesman said: “In balancing the electricity system, we take actions in economical order and not on the basis of generation type.

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Nord

Restriction of gas into Europe via Nord Stream 2 puts pressure on global supplies. (Image: PA)

Boris

Britain is aiming to achieve a net zero target by 2050 (Image: PA)

“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.”

Tom Greatrex, The Nuclear Industry Association’s chief executive said the decision to reintroduce another coal power plant highlighted the urgent need to invest in more nuclear plants.

He said: “Otherwise, we will continue to burn coal as a fall-back and fall well short of our net zero ambitions.”

Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh

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