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National Grid turns to coal power amidst rising air conditioning demand

National Grid has requested Uniper‘s Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire to prepare for operation due to increased electricity demand for air conditioning.

With much of Britain experiencing scorching temperatures, the move aims to address the surging need for cooling as the country swelters in a heatwave.

The power station’s synchronisation with the power grid is scheduled for 14:25 pm today, as stated in the SONAR notification.

In the meantime, the system operator is utilising the Balancing Mechanism to maintain a balance between supply and demand on the network.

Ami McCarthy, Greenpeace UK’s Political Campaigner, responded to the news of the National Grid relying on a coal-fired power station for air conditioning demands, expressing concern over the situation.

McCarthy highlighted that resorting to such a polluting form of power generation during a heatwave, which itself is exacerbated by climate change, reflects a failure on the part of the government.

Ami McCarthy said: “Why has the government left us caught in this doom loop spiral of using coal to tackle the impacts of a warming planet when we have far better, greener and cheaper solutions?

“If our homes were properly insulated, they’d keep us cool in the summer as well as warm in the winter, plus some heat pumps can cool as well as heat homes.

“The government must get to work and upgrade our energy grid. In summer, we should be turning to solar power, yet we currently have renewable energy going to waste because our grid cannot transmit the power and hundreds of renewables projects which are on hold because they can’t get connected.”

Jess Ralston, Head of Energy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “Until we reach net zero emissions, the world will continue to get hotter and heatwaves like the UK’s 40.3°C one from last year will become more frequent.

“This is bad news for vulnerable people, like the elderly, but it’s also going to put added strain on our power system to try to keep them and others cool.

“Coal is playing a bit-part role in the electricity grid, and both here and in Europe its use is plummeting, partly because of its high emissions. With more offshore wind, and solar particularly in the summertime, coal’s backup role will become redundant with smarter markets combined with batteries and other storage technologies.”

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