If the UK government were to back renewable generation and flexible energy technologies like battery storage instead of a new nuclear plant, some £660m could be saved through to 2030, a new analysis has concluded. The publication of the paper, by Wärtsilä Energy, comes shortly after the UK Government confirmed plans to back small nuclear projects with more than £525m of funding over the next year. A proportion is expected to go to Rolls-Royce. In the same week, EDF confirmed plans to move the Hinkley B nuclear plant into decommissioning by the end of 2022. By Wärtsilä Energy’s calculations, the UK could invest in adding 7GW of flexible energy capacity through utility-scale battery storage, advanced flexible gas plants and technologies like vehicle-to-grid (V2G) by 2030, if it scrapped plans for Sizewell C nuclear power station. This would enable the UK to reach 62% clean power in the energy mix, mitigating two million tonnes of CO2e emissions annually from 2030. Proponents of nuclear power have warned that this will leave a “gap” in low-carbon power generation – particularly given that the UK’s electricity demand is set to rise over the coming decades. Nuclear is attractive in that it is low-carbon and, unlike renewables, does not produce varying outputs based on the weather. But green groups including Greenpeace have argued that the risk of radioactive waste releases and weapons proliferation should not be ignored and that the Government would be better off investing in green hydrogen and geothermal power.
Edie 23rd Nov 2020 read more »