Declining U.K. natural gas prices are prompting utilities to burn more of the fuel for power production as profit from coal-fed plants falls to the lowest in more than four years.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows the amount of electricity generated from gas in the U.K. is the highest for this time of year since 2011, while that from coal has slumped. The price of month-ahead U.K. gas has dropped for seven consecutive months in the longest downward streak since 2009, making the fuel more competitive for power generation, broker data show.
Since 2010, coal has been more profitable than gas for electricity production, prompting U.K. utilities to shutter enough gas-fired generation in the past two years to power more than 4 million homes, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Cheaper gas and a rising carbon tax that will boost penalties for burning coal means companies may reconsider shutting some plants, according to Energy Aspects Ltd.
U.K. Plants Burn Gas Like 2011 on Price Plunge: Chart of the Day - Businessweek