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Uniper to keep UK coal plant open this winter

·1-min read
Uniper CEO Maubach addresses the media in Duesseldorf

(Reuters) -Germany's Uniper said on Thursday it would keep open a unit at its Ratcliffe coal power station in Britain to help shore up electricity supplies this winter.

Countries across Europe are drawing up contingency plans to cope with disruptions to flows of Russian gas because of the war in Ukraine. Russia typically supplies about 40% of Europe's gas.

"Following discussions with National Grid ESO (Electricity System Operator) ... We can confirm that the unit will now continue to be available until 31 March 2023," Mike Lockett, Uniper UK Country Chairman said in a statement.

National Grid ESO has already signed deals with power generators Drax Group and EDF to extend the life of four coal-fired power units at two plants for the upcoming winter.

Britain can generate about 50% of its electricity from gas. Although Russia only meets about 4% of Britain's gas needs, a significant disruption in supply would affect prices in Europe and make it harder for Britain to secure gas from others.

Uniper said it would also review the possibility of keeping the plant open until September 2024, the date by when Britain has said it plans to close all coal-fired power plants.

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale in London and Shanima A in Bengaluru Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Mark Potter)