Comment on T-4 Capacity Market results

Commenting on the T-4 Capacity market Auction Results, published today, Dr Jonathan Marshall, Energy Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said:


Coal power stations like Ferrybridge in Yorkshire have closed. Image: Gerry Machen, creative commons licence

"At long last, coal seems to be finally slipping off the capacity market life support system. This year’s auction shows that there is clearly more than enough capacity on the grid, and that we can keep the lights on even without resorting to the oldest and most toxic form of power generation. Despite this, auctions to date have agreed to pay more than £470 million to coal power stations just to stay online, at the same time the Government is trying to force them to close. Modelling has shown that we can move beyond coal before the 2025 deadline, and now facts on the ground are beginning to support these forecasts.

“This takes us to four auctions without significant new large gas plants coming to fruition, which was once thought to be needed as a bridge towards a low-carbon power system. Utilities and lobbyists claim that these are needed for the future, yet legal carbon restrictions show they will face limited running hours into the 2020s and likely end up funneling losses onto balance sheets – even if they could pick up capacity payments. Big gas plants are not needed to bridge the gap between coal and renewables, especially in the light of unprecedented falls in the cost of wind and solar power, which will lead to lower bills for homes and businesses going forwards."