National Grid put coal power plants on standby as energy demand soars in the cold

Two coal plants on standby to 'give public confidence'

National Grid has instructed two emergency coal generators to start warming up as the cold weather fuels fears of a supply shortage.

Power grid operators said Monday morning they had asked emergency generators to prepare for operation to give public confidence in Monday's energy supply.

Both generators may not be required to supply power but “will be made available to the ESO [Energy System Operator] if required”.

The National Network insists that "society must continue to use energy as usual".

It is the first time this winter that operators have had to consider using a coal-fired power plant.

It comes after the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy asked this summer to delay the shutdown of the Drax power plant until after the winter to help ensure the nation's energy supply.

The cold weather is expected to boost electricity demand in the UK to an all-season high.

Weather conditions have also cut wind generation, with wind generating only about 3 per cent of Britain's electricity as of Sunday afternoon.

Electricity prices have soared to record highs due to chilly temperatures. Power costs during peak hours 5-6pm on Sunday reached a record £2,586 per megawatt-hour

Snowfall on Sunday night forced airports to close their runways and some drivers were left stranded.

Road users in the southeast were asked by National Highways not to travel unless absolutely essential because heavy snow had fallen Sunday night. The snow had a severe impact on M2, M20 in the vicinity of junctions 8 and 9, A21 and A249, the organization said.

Gatwick and Stansted airports had to close their runways to clear snow on Sunday.

All flights have been suspended at Stansted Airport and Heathrow and Gatwick have also canceled or postponed flights.

In Wales, the demand for an ambulance service had "exceeded its capacity to respond" to calls.

"The extreme weather, coupled with the high volume of calls focused on falls and respiratory issues overnight, has limited our capacity to respond safely and in a timely manner," said Welsh Ambulance Service director Lee Brooks.

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