The storm surrounding the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant was set to break out anew today after it emerged last night that the cost to consumers could mushroom to £50 billion. The new official estimate is more than eight times higher than the £6 billion that the National Audit Office estimated the plant would cost consumers when ministers first struck a subsidy deal to support it in 2013. The spark that ignited the explosion in the estimate is a decline in electricity prices, which in turn have hugely inflated the subsidies that the project is expected to require. Under the terms of the deal, which was confirmed, after some delay, last autumn by Theresa May, the nuclear developers EDF, of France, and CGN, of China, will foot the up-front construction cost in return for a guaranteed price of £92.50 for every megawatt- hour of power that the plant generates for 35 years. If wholesale prices are below that level, the difference will be subsidised by consumers through levies on their energy bills. Wholesale prices and projections of future prices have both fallen significantly since 2013 as the cost of fossil fuels used in conventional power generation has plunged. This has increased the estimates of the subsidy payments that will be required for Hinkley Point, making the project appear increasingly poor value. Government figures show that, as of September last year, the lifetime costs of Hinkley Point C were estimated at £49.9 billion. That compares with an estimate of £36.9 billion in 2015 and £14.5 billion in 2014.
Times 19th July 2017 read more »
Telegraph 18th July 2017 read more »
Former arch-rival Scottish Tory and Labour MPs have attack delays to the UK government’s plan to commission the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. Michael (now Lord) Forsyth criticised the plans for the £18 billion project in an Economic Affairs debate in the House of Lords on the UK energy market, warning the delayed project was a “severe risk” to security of supply. Former Tory MP Forsyth said the report amounted to a “big red warning light” for ministers, and former Labour MP Alistair (now Lord) Darling said he agreed with almost everything the former minister had said. Darling said there was a big question mark over the future of nuclear power and challenged ministers to set out a “plan B” should Hinkley C not go ahead. Energy security was the “number one priority” but the public had been “short-changed” by the Hinkley C project, which was 10 years late and facing rapidly rising costs.
Scottish Energy News 19th July 2017 read more »
The Government admitted an agreement made in September last year over the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station means operators EDF can claim compensation if there is a change in British, EU or international law, policy or guidance, which forces the £24bn project to close early. Richard Harrington, the energy and industry minister, confirmed the payments could be “up to around £22bn” in a written answer to Labour’s Dr Alan Whitehead at the beginning of July. Mr Harrington said: “We remain firmly committed to bringing forward the UK’s first new nuclear power plants in a generation.
Express 18th July 2017 read more »