Scrapping plans for new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset and building huge amounts of renewable power instead would save the UK tens of billions of pounds, according to an analysis that compares likely future costs. The Intergenerational Foundation thinktank calculated that Britain would pay up to £40bn less for renewable alternatives that would generate the equivalent power to Hinkley over the plant’s planned lifetime. A final investment decision by EDF on the nuclear power plant’s expansion is expected in May. The deal involves the government committing £92.50 per megawatt hour over 35 years for its electricity output, more than twice the current wholesale price. But a report published on Tuesday by the thinktank, which campaigns on fairness between generations, found that onshore windfarms would cost £31.2bn less than Hinkley, and solar photovoltaic power £39.9bn less over 35 years to build and run. The estimate is based on both the value of subsidies paid by the taxpayer for the electricity and the cost of building the infrastructure. The analysis is based on the government’s ‘contracts for difference’ subsidy levels for the technologies and projections by Bloomberg for how the cost of wind and solar power will fall in the future. Andrew Simms, one of the report’s co-authors, said: “The government’s current plans for new nuclear power will break spending records, and pass both high costs and large, unknown economic risks onto every UK child for generations to come. “But, readily available, cheaper, safer and quicker renewable energy options would help Britain live both wi thin its economic and environmental means, while also protecting and providing for future generations.” Tom Burke, chairman of the environmental thinktank E3G and a former government adviser, said that while the report’s precise figures for costs were debatable, the broad thrust of its analysis was correct. “The government essentially is pushing this cost on to future generations. It’s a terrible thing to do to your kids. There are a lot of kids not born yet who will end up paying for this,” he said.
Guardian 5th April 2016 read more »
Spending billions of pounds on new nuclear power stations and offshore wind farms could make it harder to prevent dangerous climate change, a study has claimed. Such expensive ways of cutting emissions risk damaging economic growth and leaving future generations unable to pay for technology to capture and bury carbon dioxide, without which global warming will continue, the study from the University of Oxford says. It adds that the focus on cutting emissions in the short term is distracting attention and investment from carbon capture technologies. Myles Allen, a climate physicist who has contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that projects such as the £18 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station could be counterproductive. “If you spend stupidly now and reduce economic growth, you impair the ability of future generations to pay to get emissions to zero. They will need to pay for carbon dioxide disposal,” Professor Allen said. “It is time to divert some of our less productive subsidies into CO2 disposal.”
Times 5th April 2016 read more »
Oxford Mail 5th April 2016 read more »