The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has urged the government to take up the “golden opportunity” to go green and ditch its nuclear vision in favour of cheaper renewables. The recommendation comes within the UK’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment, in effect a study of how the country’s infrastructure must adapt and evolve over the coming years. The country’s energy system is a key consideration within the assessment and the NIC – established by former chancellor George Osborne – is clear in its recommendation that the country derive at least half of its power from renewable sources by 2030.
Solar Power Portal 10th July 2018 read more »
Renewables can generate half of Britain’s power by 2030 without adding to consumer bills, potentially crowding out nuclear as a significant low carbon source of electricity. That’s the conclusion of the National Infrastructure Committee, an independent body that advises government on how to meet the country’s long-term needs for large construction projects. It recommended the government should make 50 percent a minimum target for 2030 up from 30 percent now. It said taxpayers should only support one more nuclear power station before 2025. The recommendation is a blow to companies like Electricite de France SA and Hitachi Ltd., which are both planning large nuclear projects in Britain. In June, the U.K. said it was considering whether to take an equity stake in a 20 billion-pound ($27 billion) nuclear project in Wales led by Hitachi. After it builds Hinkley Point C, EDF has plans to build more reactors at Sizewell and Bradwell. The committee “cautions against a rush to agree government support for multiple new nuclear power stations,” the commission said in the report released on Tuesday. By not supporting too many nuclear projects the government can “give flexibility to move towards newer low-carbon energy sources in future.”
Bloomberg 9th July 2018 read more »
Government advisers have told ministers to back only a single new nuclear power station after Hinkley Point C in the next few years, because renewable energy sources could prove a safer investment. The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said the government should cool down plans for a nuclear new build programme that envisage as many as six plants being built. Sir John Armitt, the NIC’s chairman, said that wind and solar could deliver the same generating capacity as nuclear for the same price, and would be a better choice because there was less risk. “One thing we’ve all learnt is these big nuclear programmes can be pretty challenging, quite risky – they will be to some degree on the government’s balance sheet,” he said. Armitt said he was agnostic about whether the next power station was the one Hitachi wanted to build in Wales, or one EDF Energy hoped to build in Suffolk. The government is in the process of negotiating a deal with Hitachi to enable the project at Wylfa on Anglesey to go ahead. Separate research commissioned by the NIC and published on Tuesday found that nuclear and renewables could meet climate targets for comparable costs. Aurora Energy Research concluded that, regardless of which technology was pursued, the power sector would have to reach zero emissions by 2050 to hit legally binding carbon goals.
Guardian 10th July 2018 read more »
Here’s a report that must not be lost in the noise of Brexit. The National Infrastructure Assessment is a once-a-parliament affair from a body that was created to save us from the deadly combination of politicians’ machismo and the electoral cycle. More prosaically, the National Infrastructure Commission’s job is to inject long-term strategic thinking into the critical business of building important stuff. Its first report contains a devastating conclusion: the government should drop its obsession with building more and more nuclear power stations. The NIC still imagines one more nuclear plant, on top of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, before 2025, but the contrast with the government’s current approach is stark. Energy ministers for a decade have told us that a “resurgence” in new nuclear in the UK is the only way to keep the lights on while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions. As for the hideous costs of Hinkley on our energy bills for 35 years, we were told they must be swallowed to get the nuclear show up and running again. Another six plants could be needed, it has been claimed. The government, when it gets back to governing, needs to respond. Its mania for new nuclear plants has looked out-of-date, wrong-headed and unnecessarily expensive for ages. Now even its own infrastructure adviser agrees. A U-turn is required.
Guardian 10th July 2018 read more »
Britain should put the brakes on developing new nuclear facilities and boost investment in wind farms and solar power, according to the government’s independent advisers. Only one more nuclear plant should get the go-ahead between now and 2025, at the earliest, as renewables offer a less risky and potentially cheaper alternative, the National Infrastructure Commission says in a report today. The “golden opportunity” to switch to a greener energy system should include a revival of support for onshore wind and should mean that half of electricity is generated by renewables by 2030, up from about 30 per cent today, the commission argues. It also recommends restrictions on the use of polystyrene and PVC plastics, which are hard to recycle, and considering making every home have a separate food recycling bin as part of a new standardised national policy.
Times 10th July 2018 read more »
Britain’s first independent infrastructure review has poured cold water on plans to invest billions of pounds in a string of new nuclear power stations, in favour of cheaper wind and solar power. The National Infrastructure Commission dealt a blow to the Government’s nuclear ambitions by warning ministers against striking a deal for more than one follow-up to the Hinkley Point C project before 2025. Instead, billions of pounds should be funnelled into renewable power and energy efficiency measures for homes and businesses. Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, said by holding off on multiple, pricey nuclear deals ministers can “protect the money in the pockets of consumers”. The cost of renewable technologies has plummeted in recent years, casting doubt on the economic merits of nuclear projects spearheaded by major energy companies including EDF Energy, Korean utility Kepco and China’s state-backed nuclear company China General Nuclear.
Telegraph 9th July 2018 read more »
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