National Audit Office issues devastating critique of Hinkley Point C deal

Commenting on the report issued on 23rd June by the National Audit Office Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said:

This is a pretty devastating critique of the deal struck between the Government and EDF Energy on Hinkley Point C. Consumers would be locked into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits, according to the National Audit Office, and the government’s case for the project has weakened since the deal was agreed in 2013.”

Earlier this week the Financial Times highlighted the continuing fall in the costs of renewables saying they would allow the government to escape from the plans imposed by George Osborne in 2013 for a wave of expensive new nuclear plants. (1)

The CEO of one of the UK’s top utilities, SSE, said Hinkley Point C will probably be the only new nuclear station to go ahead, and only then if Flamanville in Normandy – which is the same reactor-type as Hinkley Point C – goes well from now on. He said Britain does not need Hinkley Point C to ensure the lights will stay on. (2)

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that solar power is becoming so cheap that it will push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast. The cost of offshore wind farms, until recently the most expensive mainstream renewable technology, will slide 71% making the technology another competitive form of low carbon generation. (3)

According to the FT “Nobody outside the industry now thinks the future of electricity generation is nuclear fission”. And it said scrapping Hinkley Point would be a good way to start sorting out the mess of UK energy policy. (4)

Roy Pumfrey said

It is pretty damning when your independent arbiter of what represents good value for money gives a big infrastructure project like this the thumbs down

He continued:

It’s not too late to scrap this backward-looking, expensive and dangerous project. The Government’s ill advised obsession with nuclear is locking consumers into 35-years of paying for expensive electricity to say nothing of the thousands of years of stewardship needed for the waste. It should instead stop trying to kill off the renewable industry which promises to cut electricity prices and embrace the future. Somerset needs to be allowed to get on with developing a cheaper green energy strategy for the coming decades.

 

(1) Why batteries are more important than Brexit, FT 19th June 2017 
(2) Reuters 19th June 2017
(3) Bloomberg 15th June 2017
(4) Nuclear is rightly vanishing as an answer to our energy needs FT 26th May 2017

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Published: 23 June 2017
Last updated: 1 July 2017