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UK's Drax might delay retirement of coal plants to plug energy gap -FT

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Sunset over Drax power station in North Yorkshire
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(Reuters) - UK power generator Drax Group Plc said it could keep its coal-fired power plants operating beyond their planned closure next year as the energy crisis in Europe highlights potential fragilities in Britain's energy supplies, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

"If the government wants us to rethink our plans, we need to talk to them in the next few months," Drax CEO Will Gardiner said in an interview with the FT.

His comments come as Britain prepares to host the COP26 climate change summit in November to spur more ambitious commitments by countries to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and keep the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius during this century.

Gardiner said the United Kingdom would face a "tough winter" if temperatures were colder than average, and Drax's last remaining coal units would help to balance a grid that had experienced tight supply in recent weeks.

The country's energy regulator Ofgem and business minister Kwasi Kwarteng warned parliament this week that soaring gas prices would force more suppliers out of business and that the industry should prepare for a tougher environment.

Avro Energy and Green Supplier Limited became the latest providers to say they would cease trading, following a handful of others that have exited the market this year.

(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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