Britain allows two gas power stations to increase output

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government has granted permission for two gas power stations to increase output by a combined 219 megatwatts (MW), it said on Tuesday.

Little Barford Power Station in the east of England can raise electricity output by 70 MW to 750 MW while Staythorpe Power Station in the east Midlands can increase generation by 149 MW to 1,649 MW, according to the decision by the minister of state for business, energy and industrial strategy.

Britain - which generated a total of 310 TWh of electricity in 2021 - is like other European countries drawing up contingency plans against potential disruption to flows of Russian gas because of the war in Ukraine. Russia supplies about 40% of Europe's gas.

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

In May, the government said that some of the British coal-fired power plants slated for closure this year might need to stay open to ensure electricity supply this winter.

(Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)