NFLA argues the priority for Anglesey is now the safe decommissioning of Wylfa A and a concerted effort for new jobs in renewable and decentralised energy. A few days have now passed since Horizon Nuclear halted plans to develop the Wylfa B Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) new nuclear programme in Anglesey. Amidst on one hand, calls that energy security is under deep threat, and on the other that the economic future of Anglesey and Wales is in a state of crisis, it is clear that the decision by Hitachi to halt the development over the financial risks to the company is controversial, but it has to be said largely a correct one. The immediate increase in Hitachi’s share price from the decision is a pointer to see how the financial markets saw it, despite Hitachi already sinking in substantial resource to the project.
NFLA 22nd Jan 2019 read more »
Letter Neil Crumpton: In the wake of Hitachi’s Wylfa Newydd project suspension many politicians across Wales have called for the UK Government to increase its funding offer. Yet energy secretary Greg Clark has already offered a one third equity stake (£4+bn), all the debt financing required, and a guaranteed £75/MWh electricity price for 35 years. This compares with 2020s offshore wind prices of around £65/MWh guaranteed for only 15 years. This figure includes £ 7.50 / MWh for hydrogen-fuelled back-up capacity, electrolysers and balancing costs to ensure reliable, flexible supplies. No equity or debt financing subsidy is offered to renewables, which are safe and don’t create long-term waste and WMD proliferation risks. So many politicians, disregarding due diligence, are calling for UK consumers and taxpayers to pay out at least £8bn over 35 years more than for renewables of equivalent and demand-responsive output. That subsidy could pay nearly 6,000 people £40,000 per year to do something for 35 years. So a Hitachi deal generating 850 direct nuclear jobs would be a spectacular net job-destruction scheme for decades. Renewable energy schemes and their Grid-strengthening back-up systems don’t build themselves. A mix of renewables, predominantly offshore wind, would create just as many, if not more, construction and operational jobs per MWh generated. Granted that most of these jobs would not be concentrated on the tip of rural Anglesey but they could, and should, be dispersed across all economically deprived areas, including Anglesey, using regional growth deals.
Wales Online 21st Jan 2019 read more »
Hopes for new nuclear plants in the U.K. are fading fast after Hitachi halted development of a GBP £13 billion ($17 billion) project last week. The Japanese developer hit pause on the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power project, in Wales, over concerns about funding. The move came after another Japanese nuclear vendor, Toshiba, scrapped plans for a separate plant, Moorside, in Cumbria, north England, last year. Hitachi claims the project has been paused, not stopped. But prospects remain uncertain. As GTM previously reported, Japanese vendors have been struggling to seal international deals in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. Hitachi’s and Toshiba’s failures to move forward in the U.K. leave just three prospective new plants planned on British soil. Hitachi’s director of corporate affairs, Leon Flexman, told the BBC that Hitachi had called a temporary halt on the project because it was costing £1 million ($1.3 million) a day, but the company would be willing to resume work if financing could be found. The fact that even the generous package proposed by the U.K. government could not get the project off the ground does not bode well for Wylfa’s future, nor for the prospects of other new nuclear plants in the country. Last week, Clark said the U.K. government was looking at a new financing scheme, called a regulated asset base model, for these and other plants. “We intend to publish our assessment of this method by the summer at the latest,” he said. But observers aren’t holding out much hope. The European Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables team issued an analyst note that states: “This is a major blow to the prospects of nuclear power in the U.K.” Nuclear generation is expected to drop from 20 percent of the U.K.’s generation mix today to 10 percent by the mid-2030s, said the team, adding: “It looks increasingly doubtful that nuclear will be a major contributor to a heavily decarbonized power mix in the U.K.”
Green Tech Media 22nd Jan 2019 read more »
Call for bigger North Wales Growth Deal funding following shelved Wylfa Newydd plans. Rhun ap Iorwerth accused the Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns MP, of being “irresponsible” in his suggestion the project could be revived in a few years when there’s no clear route by which it could be, he then called for a guarantee of more investment in the region.
Wrexham.com 23rd Jan 2019 read more »
Anglesey council’s first chance to discuss the suspension of a multi-billion pound nuclear plant could be held behind closed doors, following legal advice. On Monday, the authority is to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the fallout of Friday’s announcement that the Wylfa Newydd project was being ‘paused’ due to difficulties in securing the necessary funding. The meeting had been organised after securing the necessary five signatures – all of whom belong to the opposition Annibynnwyr Môn group. But officers are recommending that both the press and public should be shut out and the webcasting equipment turned off due to the potentially sensitive nature of the discussion. Despite this, the leader of the opposition says that his group will vote to hold the meeting in public due to the importance of the project to both Anglesey and North Wales.
Daily Post 22nd Jan 2019 read more »
David Foxwell reflects on the fallout from Hitachi’s decision to pull out of the Wylfa nuclear power plant and whether renewables – including offshore wind – really can fill the gap. As OWJ reported last week, Hitachi has confirmed it is pulling out of the project to build the Wylfa nuclear power plant in the UK. The decision is another body blow to the UK’s plans for nuclear energy, but also for decarbonisation efforts in the UK. However, it has been suggested that renewable energy such as offshore wind can fill the ‘nuclear gap’ with alternative low-carbon power sources that would keep bills down, maintain secure energy supply and allow the UK to maintain progress towards legally binding climate targets. That might be possible, it’s said, because the cost of renewable energy – not least offshore wind energy – has plummeted. As Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) head of analysis Dr Jonathan Marshall noted, although Hitachi’s decision is certainly a setback to the government’s energy plans, it should not cause alarm bells to start ringing. In recent years government has quietly cut back its expectations for nuclear newbuild, and that’s looking more and more realistic as the price of renewable generation falls and the benefits of the flexible smart grid become more apparent. Filling the nuclear gap with renewables would indeed require an increase in rollout, he said, but one that is well within UK capabilities. As UK Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark noted in a statement issued last week about Hitachi’s decision to suspend work on Wylfa, the economics of the energy market have changed significantly in recent years. The cost of renewable technology such as offshore wind has fallen dramatically, to the point where they now require very little public subsidy and will soon, the minister claimed, require none. We have also seen a strengthening in the pipeline of projects coming forward, meaning that renewable energy may now not just be cheap, but also readily available. As a result of these developments over the last eight years, he said, we have a well-supplied electricity market. What he might also have said is that cost reduction in the offshore wind industry, although already mightily impressive, is far from over, and that by the time Wylfa and other nuclear plants would have become operational, the massive disparity in costs between nuclear and renewables would have been even greater.
Offshore Wind Journal 22nd Jan 2019 read more »
Were it not for blanket Brexit, smothering every other news item, I suspect there would have been a lot more coverage of the recent collapse of Hitachi’s nuclear pretensions here in the UK. And a lot more questioning about what the hell happens next – in terms of UK energy and climate policy. As Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, [we] invested significant resource in seeking to persuade Tony Blair that his 2005 change of heart on nuclear (Labour’s position before then was to keep the nuclear option ‘in the long grass’), was profoundly ill-judged. And then, together with three other former Directors of Friends of the Earth, in 2012 and 2013, warning David Cameron and his and his pro-nuclear Lib Dem groupies that his plans for six new plants by 2030 had zero prospect of ever being delivered. Maybe even Greg Clark will be forced to recognise that his much-loved nuclear parrot really is a definitively dead parrot. After all, he’s a smart guy, and reassuringly free of the kind of ideological blinkers that make so many of his Cabinet colleagues unfit to lead anything other than an endangered cult. His statement to Parliament on the collapse of the Hitachi deal was appropriately measured, and he acknowledged unhesitatingly that nuclear power ‘is being out-competed’. The unquestioned credibility of the Committee on Climate Change is a precious asset, and one which has served us well over the last ten years. But it cannot possibly go on pretending that nuclear power will be making much of a contribution to the low-carbon generation we need by 2030. If ever.
Jonathon Porritt 20th Jan 2019 read more »