The UK has had something of a rocky relationship with new nuclear in the past few years, but developments in January 2019 pushed it firmly into ‘it’s complicated’ territory, and sent the country scrambling for alternatives. As the cost of intermittent renewables and battery storage technologies continue to fall, it’s entirely within reason that questions are starting to be asked. And, now, it’s the UK government asking them as well. The last of the country’s solar subsidies are to close at the end of March 2019, heralding the dawn of the post-subsidy era. And, as contentious as they may have been, the cost reductions seen in solar and wind in the UK have been nothing short of remarkable. So with the UK government seemingly closing the door on expensive new nuclear plants and firmly opening it for much cheaper renewables, where does solar stand? Should solar PV indeed look to fill 20% of that shortfall, it would equate to some 12TWh of power being required from new-build solar. Again, using CCC estimates, that would require an additional 13GW of solar capacity in the UK, essentially doubling what has already been energised on the country’s rooftops and fields. Not only could new renewables replace Wylfa, but it could do so as much as one-third more cheaply while reigniting the UK’s solar and onshore wind industries. If that’s the case, then subsidies may begin to look like an increasingly good deal for the UK consumer. But the policy landscape in the UK is far from conducive to an extra 13GW of solar PV being connected in the next 11 years.
Solar Power Portal 21st Feb 2019 read more »