Solar and wind power will be cheaper than new nuclear electricity before the Hinkley Point power station could open, according to the government’s own projections. Electricity from onshore wind turbines and large-scale solar farms is expected to cost about £50 to £75 per megawatt-hour in 2025, while new nuclear is projected to cost £85 to £125/MWh. In 2013, when the government agreed to pay £92.50/MWh for Hinkley Point’s power, solar and wind power were forecast to be more expensive than nuclear, or about the same price. The change in the forecast was revealed in a National Audit Office report last month. It said wind and solar’s “levelised cost”, which compares the cost of energy sources, had become substantially cheaper. “Forecasts for wind and solar in 2025 have decreased . . . while for nuclear it has increased,” it said.
Times 12th Aug 2016 read more »
What’s missing is a fresh discussion on what to do instead of large projects like Hinkley. This requires a challenge to the mindset that’s led the UK to paint itself into a corner. There’s long been a culture of big is better when the UK considers energy – find the next big gas field or build another big power station and the problem is sorted. Locally produced solar and wind energy is now more common. We have all seen how prices for panels and turbines have tumbled with forecasts that costs for solar and onshore wind will fall a further 41% and 60% by 2040 respectively. The UK needs to get over the idea that huge megaprojects are the solution to everything. Instead, it should think of a new mix between smaller and larger, be more joined up in considering consumption as well as supply and think more decentralised than central. That expands the industries, companies, institutions and government departments involved. That calls for an industrial strategy focused on energy.
Reaction 12th Aug 2016 read more »