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Withdrawal of West Burton A sends UK capacity market price to record high

Highlights

T-1 clears 2.252 GW at GBP45/kW/yr

Agreements for Ratcliffe coal, Corby gas

154 MW of new gas recip engines

London — The exit of EDF's West Burton A coal plant from the UK's March 2 one-year-ahead capacity market auction played a key role in setting what is the highest price yet in the mechanism.

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The T-1 auction for 2021/2022 procured 2.252 GW of de-rated capacity at a clearing price of GBP45/kW/year ($62.52/kW/year), auction organizer National Grid ESO announced late March 2.

The auction had been seeking to contract 2.4 GW. Some 4.24 GW of de-rated capacity entered the auction, which opened at a ceiling price of GBP75/kW/year.

In all, 156 capacity market units owned by 48 parent companies were awarded agreements.

Withdrawal of West Burton A in round six saw capacity in the auction plummet from 4 GW to 2.252 GW, as the price ceiling dropped below GBP50/kW/year.

At clearing, this left just one 435 MW coal unit (Uniper's Ratcliffe site) with an agreement, followed by one 366 MW CCGT unit (ESB's Corby) and 213 MW of combined heat and power capacity. Reciprocating engines, hydro and energy from waste made up the bulk of the remainder of agreements in the existing generation category.

Existing interconnection, meanwhile, garnered 295 MW (all to Eirgrid's EWIC link to Ireland) while demand response (proven and unproven) gained 239 MW.

In the new build generation category, 290 MW were awarded in all, 154 MW relating to new gas reciprocating engines, with Aggregated Micro Power Infrastructure particularly successful with agreements for some 19 mainly sub-5 MW systems.

Stat-Flex gained an agreement for a new 47.6 MW gas unit at Saltholme South Power, Stockton-on-Tees, while new one-hour duration battery storage accrued 60 MW (with Power Act and Pivot Power successful), followed by energy from waste (25 MW), and onshore wind (13.6 MW).