The UK’s auction to secure backup power for 2019/20 saw contracts awarded to Centrica, SSE and Drax in the main, with gas-fired power winning top preference.

The auction cleared below last year’s price at 18 pounds per kilowatt late on Thursday, and nearly half of the capacity was awarded to gas-fired power plants, results showed.

The three power utilities secured contracts for 46.35 GW of power plant capacity. For the first time, operators of interconnectors to France and the Netherlands, such as National Grid, also received contracts.

Britain‘s capacity market mechanism is designed to ensure backup power is available when intermittent renewable energy sources fail to produce electricity.