Comment: How industry lobbying on the UK capacity market means old coal plants will stay on the system

Dr Jimmy Aldridge
Greenpeace energy analyst
License: All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

The European Commission had a busy day yesterday. They put forward a target to improve energy efficiency by 30% as part of a package of climate and energy policy for 2030. They also announced that the UK could go ahead with its system of contracts-for-difference which will provide payments to low-carbon generators. Much less reported was the announcement of the commission’s approval of the UK’s capacity mechanism. 

This is really bad news for the process of decarbonisation across Europe – it effectively gives a green light for countries to openly subsidise fossil-fuelled power. 

The capacity market provides payments to coal and gas generators to make sure that they stay online and are able to deliver power when the grid needs it.  It has come about because the UK government were nervous that the market was not attractive enough for anyone to build new power stations and because an increasing amount of intermittent renewable energy on the system means that we need back-up for when the wind isn’t blowing. 

It is true that we need some sort of mechanism for ensuring demand is met but there are many ways of achieving this without throwing billions of pounds of consumer money at old coal-fired power stations. For a start, we could be making much better use of the demand-side of the power system – so rather than assuming that levels of demand are fixed we could be using smart metering and contracting to shift the times when power is used. We could be encouraging increased use of storage technologies so that power is stored when there is an excess and then used when renewables aren’t providing. We could also increase the capacity of our interconnectors with Europe so that we can use their power rather than maintain high-carbon power stations in the UK that hardly ever run. 

If all these options are maximised then we may need a top-up of generation to ensure the lights stay on. But within a context where we are trying to decarbonise the energy system surely it would make sense for this generation to be as low-carbon as possible. It is perverse that coal generation, which is by far the most polluting, should be receiving subsidies to stay online. And we’re not talking about small numbers here. A 2GW coal plant could be paid £100 million per year from the capacity market, on top of the money they make from selling their power. 

The inclusion of coal generation within the capacity market is the result of a massive lobbying effort by the big utilities that operate these plant. The UK is seen as a test case for how a capacity market will operate and the huge European utilities saw that pushing for old fossil-fuelled plant to be included would set a precedent across Europe. So they have pushed extremely hard, and because the design of the market is so complicated their expertise has been drawn on at multiple points by the poor civil servants who have to make this thing work. 

This is a major flaw of policy making in the UK at the moment. The government are having to respond to changes in the system as new technologies come forward and we try to decarbonise. There are multiple interacting policies that are all complicated and the only people that truly understand it all are the very well resourced utilities. They have an informational advantage over everyone else including the government and so when new policy is being designed their expertise is drawn on. This gives them an opportunity to shape how policy works and they are masters of bringing it round to their own advantage.   

This is exactly what has happened with the capacity market. The utilities saw that it was an opportunity to capture subsidies for their plant in the UK and thereby set a precedent for receiving subsidy across Europe. And the UK government fell for it.

Comments Add new comment

Despite associated with all the emailing amenities, you are able
to with no surety get totally away from Hotmail errors.

Obat Tradisional Jus Kulit Manggis Menurunkan Kadar Kolestrol. Tahukah anda pengertian Penyakit Kolesterol.obat tradisional kolesterol

I trսly understand why post. I haνe been surfing all οver with this particular!

Thhank goodness I sttubled onto it on Bing. You might have
made my day! Thanks again

Just keep writing what you are enthusiastic about, and the readers will come to your site. obat herbal vertigo

Hola! I've been reading your website for a while now
and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx!
Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!

Green careers are going to play a pivotal role in the recovery of the
U.S. Going green will help revive the economy towards creating job
growth and counter the effects of net job loss. smart grid education 

Corporate live Entertainment can help make your Orlando convention or
meeting productive and fun. Tips for first time and experienced Orlando
meeting planners help take some of the stress away from planning
corporate entertainment, and make sure you are getting the most out of
your budget. zeta entertainment 

Being healthy and balanced wouldn't only make them possess a far
healthier lifestyle but it surely will essentially lighten up their
load, and increase their overall well-being. You will find a long menu
of dieting solutions available. health sourcing

Nyc boasts Prada Flagship Retail outlet, the funkiest shop remaining.
Buying ebony roses together with antiques during the West Village will
give flare and searching out the best artificial fur together with
mile-high stiletto's happen to be reason enough for that shopping
outdoor trip. shopping in new york city

<a href="">Obat Kanker Payudara </a>     Ace Maxs alami, aman dan ampuh serta bebas efek samping negatif apapun. Obat kanker payudara Ace Maxs terbuat dari perpaduan ekstrak kulit manggis dan daun sirsak. Obat kanker payduara darah Ace Maxs sudah mendapat IZIN RESMI BPOM TR. 142 680 331 dan merupakan Produk Halal yang sudah terdaftar di DEPKES RI P-IRT No. 113317401444-17 jadi sudah terjamin legalitas dan keasliannya.  Ace Maxs merupakan obat tradisional terbaru yang terbuat dari bahan herbal alami berkualitas tinggi yaitu perpaduan ekstrak kulit manggis dan daun sirsak tanpa ada campuran bahan kimia apapun di dalamnya. Sehingga aman dikonsumsi tubuh baik oleh anak-anak [minimal 5 tahun], remaja, dewasa bahkan lanjut usia serta bebas efek samping negatif apapun. Perlu anda ketahui bahwa obat herbal Ace Maxs sudah mendapat IZIN RESMI BPOM TR. 142 680 331 dan merupakan Produk Halal yang sudah terdaftar di DEPKES RI P-IRT No. 113317401444-17 jadi tidak ada lagi alasan anda untuk meragukan mutu dan kualitasnya. Silahkan pesan via sms atau bbm BARANG SAMPAI BARU BAYAR.

The rocks Hockey Safe practices For Young children and Youngsters. The
right equipment, understanding in addition to training are important to
this safe in addition to fun the rocks hockey practical knowledge for
young children and youngsters.

Old coal plants have been campaigning UK market for quite a while. The vitality utilization will increment quickly in the event that we utilized new advancements as a part of Coal plants. As that we are utilizing heaps of cash as a part of old project we needed to bring new things and more generation too at same time. We will see some significant changes in couple of years in coal commercial ventures.

That's really cool. I would be interested in seeing more graphs of different information you pull from these logs.

 I caught genital herpes from my ex boyfriend who never had any symptoms.


have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to
my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.

great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site
by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and
also add rss. keep us updated.

You have written a high quality article on
a useful topic. It could prove helpful for lots of people. Students finding it
tough to write their academic coursework can opt for our assignment help and
can expect to get a quality assignment solution from us.

Download terrarium tv new version exclusively for stream and download online tv shows, movies.If you want to watch one particular genre movies you can search them according to your choice, usually download terrarium tv for fire stick from officiall blog

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.