The Hinkley Point C nuclear plant is risky and poor value for money, according to a House of Lords committee that urged the government to set out a “plan B” in case the £18 billion project is not built on time. In a damning report on energy policy, the Lords economic affairs committee said that household energy bills had already soared by 58 per cent since 2003 and the risk of blackouts had increased, in part due to “poorly designed government interventions, in pursuit of decarbonisation”. Ministers should abandon plans to award subsidies to future nuclear plants through bilateral deals like that given to Hinkley, the committee said. Instead such projects should be forced to compete against wind farms, solar power farms and gas-fired power stations to find the cheapest way of keeping the lights on and cutting emissions. The committee said that the government should ensure that “the security of the UK’s energy supply is the priority of its energy policy” and suggested that climate change targets be “managed flexibly”. Lord Hollick, the committee’s chairman, highlighted Hinkley – which was signed off by Theresa May in September – as “a good example of the way policy has become unbalanced and affordability neglected”, and described it as “very, very expensive”.
Times 24th Feb 2017 read more »
The House of Lords has slammed the Hinkley Point new nuclear project as a good example of bad Government policy which puts cutting carbon above reliable, low cost energy. In a scathing report on the UK’s energy plans the Lords heaped criticism on the giant energy project, to be developed by EDF, saying it does not provide taxpayers with good value for money and may suffer delays. The Government has been heavily criticised for handing EDF a contract to build the £18bn plant which will pay the French state-backed company a fixed price of £92.50 per megawatt-hour of electricity produced over 35 years. The total cost to consumers is estimated to be £30bn. Hinkley has also proved highly divisive in France over concerns that EDF cannot afford the project, prompting the resignation of EDF’s former finance boss Thomas Piquemal last year. Lord Holick told the Telegraph “Hinkley Point C is a good example of the way policy has become unbalanced and affordability neglected. It does not provide good value for money for consumers and there are substantial risks associated with the project,” he said. The committee’s report blames the Government’s commitment to ‘decarbonising’ the UK’s electricity supply and the pressure to secure new power generating plants as coal plants continue to close for forcing bills higher. “Poorly-designed government interventions, in pursuit of the decarbonisation, have put unnecessary pressure on the electricity supply and left consumers and industry paying too high a price,” Lord Hollick said. The committee has called for an independent Energy Commission to advise Government on how to achieve an optimum balance of its three key objectives to keep the lights on at low cost while cutting carbon. “It would not be entirely different to the role that the OBR plays with regards to the Treasury. What it would do is provide a degree of transparency, not only for the Government itself to make its decisions but for industry and observers and analysts so that there is a greater degree of accountability as opposed to confusion,” he said.
Telegraph 24th Feb 2017 read more »
The Government’s support for the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point reflects ministers’ failure to focus on delivering low-cost energy, a group of peers has warned.
Politics Home 24th Feb 2017 read more »
Independent 24th Feb 2017 read more »
Carbon Brief unpicks the committee’s report with the help of several climate and energy policy experts. They describe it as “confused”, lacking nuance and “very disappointing”. Others say the report summary is “very misleading” and the proposed auction “doesn’t really make sense”.
Carbon Brief 24th Feb 2017 read more »