Vast coal stocks kept for energy security could go up in smoke

As Russia’s war with Ukraine triggered warnings last year of potential gas shortages and winter blackouts, the government turned to Old King Coal to bolster Britain’s energy security.

“These risks would be best mitigated by significantly increasing the amount of capacity that is available over the winter, particularly non-gas-fired capacity,” Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary at that time, told National Grid in May.

At his request, National Grid negotiated deals costing consumers an estimated £368 million to delay the closure of several old coal-fired power plants and to procure hundreds of thousands of tonnes of coal for them to burn in an emergency.

Household energy bills ‘will be much cheaper than feared’ by summer

As winter draws to a close, these worst-case scenarios have not