A report released by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit in 2019 found that the early closure of plants like Hinkley and Hunterston due to cracks – alongside delays to construction of plants such as Sizewell C – could leave a power gap, particularly as there is potential for other plants in the UK’s fleet to develop similar cracking, with a greater deployment of renewables the most cost effective way of plugging that gap. Commenting on today’s announcement (about Hunterston), Dr Jonathan Marshall, head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said that whilst nuclear plants not lasting forever “should not surprise anyone” what would be a surprise “would be power sector emissions increasing again were this clean power gap not filled with low-carbon electricity”. “Setting ambitious targets for onshore wind and solar, as seen for offshore wind, would ensure that there is more than enough clean energy to power our lives. “While a decision on nuclear power funding is expected in the upcoming Energy White Paper, for now the clear answer is to crack on with the solutions that can be delivered reliably, rapidly and at rock-bottom costs,” he said.
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