Case against Hinkley Point nuclear development gets stronger after yet another critical report. The more entertaining stuff is in director Richard Black’s blog. He describes Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation as: “A giant Godzilla that will either crush all before it or collapse under its own weight.” The latter is much the more likely outcome. But you can see his point.
Independent 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Richard Black: [Hinkley is] also something of a mirage; and when you escape its unreality field, interesting things are happening. Stereotypically, enthusiasm for renewable energy is the domain of tree-hugging greenies who know and care little for niceties such as keeping the lights on so long as the sanctity of Mother Earth remains unviolated. Real men do not do renewables. It’s amazing how long stereotypes persist past the point where they have lost all basis in fact. Energy academics and investment banks have understood for years that renewables-based systems are becoming the logic-based choice, given not only climate change but also simply cost. Seventy-five percent of bosses asked in a survey think Britain should build more [renewables]. Even solar power, treated with huge scepticism in government ever since the late Professor David Mackay told ministers that it could not amount to a row of beans – garnered a huge thumbs-up. The second big news of last week came from National Grid, which admitted its complete failure to predict the rapid advent of small-scale renewables. Four years ago it estimated that 0.5 gigawatts would be installed by 2021. Already, the total is 11GW – and 13GW more is now considered likely. That’s an under-estimate by a factor of nearly 50. Accordingly, Grid has now slashed its forecast for the building of big block power stations by more than 50%.
ECIU 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
The UK can meet its energy and climate change targets without building the controversial new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, a new report has found. ECIU director Richard Black said the report – Hinkley What If? – shows the nuclear plant “is not essential”. He said: “Despite years of debate on Hinkley, we’re still not sure whether or not it’s going to get built – the Prime Minister is due to make a decision next month, but even if she says ‘yes’ there are many other issues that could derail the project, including legal cases and EDF’s financial woes. “So we wanted to know how essential Hinkley is for the ‘energy trilemma’ – keeping the lights on whilst cutting greenhouse gas emissions and keeping costs down. “Our conclusion is that it’s not essential; using tried and tested technologies, with nothing unproven or futuristic, Britain can meet all its targets and do so at lower costs” The report found that building an extra four big wind farms on top of those scheduled to be constructed could bring as much electricity into the grid as Hinkley. Using electricity more efficiently and productively could negate the need for at least two-fifths of Hinkley’s electricity, the report also found.
Plymouth Herald 26th Aug 2016 read more »
ITV 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 26th Aug 2016 read more »
The report’s findings received the backing of North Star Solar CEO – and until recently RWE npower chief – Paul Massara, who, not for the first time, argued Hinkley was the wrong solution for meeting the UK’s future energy needs. In view of the costs and “unproven, outmoded technology” involved, pressing ahead with Hinkley would be “madness”, he suggested in a statement. “Listen to any informed energy market insider, and they will tell you that future grids will be smart, decentralised, flexible, and dominated by a mix of renewable energy, demand-side and energy efficiency measures, and storage,” said Massara. “If that’s the case, then the question is very simple: what’s Hinkley for?” However, a spokesman for EDF said the scenarios outlined in ECIU’s report were “not credible alternatives” to Hinkley, the costs for which he said were competitive. “Wind, gas, interconnection, energy storage, demand side response, efficiency measures and large scale nuclear generation will all be part of the ideal future energy mix for the UK,” the EDF spokesman said. “We must get the engineering and the economics right. The scenarios outlined in the ECIU report are not credible alternatives to Hinkley Point C. HPC’s cost is competitive with other large-scale low carbon technologies. It will generate electricity steadily even on foggy and still winter days across Northern Europe. It will play a crucial role as part of a future, flexible energy system.”
Business Green 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Scrapping plans for the proposed new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point and focusing on other projects could save the taxpayer £1bn a year, according to a new report from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).
Holyrood Magazine 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Prime Minister Theresa May will pull out of the Hinkley Point nuclear project and China “cannot be trusted”, according to former MP for Wells and Liberal Democrat spokesperson, Tessa Munt. The prospect of a government pull-out over the project to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point near Bridgwater, has been welcomed by Munt, who believes the Prime Minister will turn against it and it would be “mad” to have China “running our energy”.
Somerset Live 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Government is exploring ways to get out of the deal.
Burnham-on-sea 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Power Engineering International 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Media reports say Britain’s new government under Prime Minister Theresa May is scrutinizing the deal with China in search of a loophole or an escape clause that could allow them to back away from the deal with dignity. May’s chief of staff Nick Timothy, in an online posting in 2015, criticized the idea of Chinese companies taking a minority stake in the $24 billion project as a security risk. China could move in and “shut down Britain’s energy production at will,” Timothy wrote. In addition, criticism over the price deal the previous government arranged for French nuclear plant operator Electricite de France (EDF), remains a frequent discussion in the press, despite the subsidy’s previous approval from the European Commission. That decision, however, may be considered moot, as Britain, more recently, has decided to exit its membership in the European Union.
Nuclear Street 25th Aug 2016 read more »
When Greenpeace published a comment piece in the Guardian, arguing that there were plenty of alternatives to the £30 billion Hinkley Point C, we had plenty of responses with ideas ranging from the off-beat to the so-obvious-why-aren’t-we-doing-it-already. What unites them all is their size: the energy systems of the future are numerous, varied, small-scale and interconnected. In contrast, Hinkley Point C would be a huge monolith, which – even before it’s built – is widely recognised as an expensive white elephant, saddling British consumers with high energy costs for decades to come.
Energydesk 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
Another day, another Hinkley Point C demolition job. This time it’s from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, a non-profit organisation, apparently, but clearly one with a better grasp of finance than our ex-chancellor. It’s had a squint at the £18 billion nuke and reached a happy conclusion: there are “cheaper, quicker and simpler alternatives to Hinkley”. Its report tackles a key myth: that Hinkley is the best way to meet 7 per cent of Britain’s energy needs, while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Not so. Four big wind farms or three more interconnector cables could bring as much electricity into the grid. And that might not be necessary anyway as “we could negate the need for at least two fifths of Hinkley’s electricity by cutting waste”. Neither do we need 3,200MW of “always on” baseload power. We could handle the same peak demand requirements through extra connectors or gas-fired stations, not least if industry rescheduled non-essential processes away from times of highest demand. Besides, grids are getting more flexible, partly thanks to innovations in storage. Tot it all up and those alternatives will save taxpayers at least £1 billion a year versus Hinkley, a project so daft that its electricity will cost us more than twice today’s wholesale rate, an effective £30 billion subsidy. Theresa May is pondering what to do about the Hinkley nuclear disaster. It’s blindingly obvious.
Times 26th Aug 2016 read more »