How Worthwhile is Hinkley?

by | Dec 12, 2016 | Energy, Policy, Research

TL;DR

Hinkley Point C is happening, but could we do without it…

Say what you will about nuclear power, there are those who love it and others who loath it. Until the review was placed onto Hinkley by PM Theresa May earlier this year, it appeared nuclear was to be part of the UK’s future energy mix. Although it has now been agreed upon, there are still some who don’t believe it was the best decision.

The review had questioned the UK’s commitment to decarbonising the energy mix and tackling climate change. But now that Hinkley is full steam ahead, will it be worth it?

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) recently reported that Hinkley could be replaced by ‘alternatives’.

The Alternatives

The base load requirement it would provide could be offset by 40% through improved energy efficiency. All at a lower cost than a new nuclear power station.

Demand side response (DSR) could make Hinkley completely redundant, even using the pessimistic value for DSR capacity. Add energy storage into the mix and you may start to question why Hinkley was ever considered.

Although these technologies may not be in mainstream use right now, Hinkley would take 10 years to come online thus with the speed of development within the clean tech sector, there is real potential.

Savings

If the UK government did decide to scrap Hinkley and use the alternatives discussed above, it could save bill payers £8 billion a year by 2030. The cost of energy from Hinkley has a starting price of £92.50 per MWh which industry experts argue is enough to transition the UK to a low carbon economy comprised of renewables and storage.

Debate around the validity of the ECUI claims have surfaced. EDF Energy, who are backing Hinkley, do not believe the ECIU provided credible alternatives.

Our Future

The decisions on power generation will impact every one of us, not just those in renewable and alternative energy sectors. How the government decides to proceed in the coming years determines the speed at which the UK can decarbonise.

 

At Cleantech East we are closely watching the developments and will keep you updated with any news. As a clean tech network, we are always thinking about how new innovations could change the future energy mix.

Is there an energy generation solution we are yet to discover?

 

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