Rt. Hon. Edward Davey MP
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
3 Whitehall Place
London SW1A 2AW
12th July 2013
Dear Mr Davey
Go on Ed….be a hero!
We understand that you recently told a Stop Hinkley supporter that, “We probably could go down the road of no new nuclear power, as is being done in Germany and other EU countries, but it would be heroic.”
Now, more than any other time in our history, we need heroes. At No2 nuclear power we believe that we need to cut carbon emissions urgently now – not in ten years time when Hinkley might start operating – and that government support for nuclear is proving a massive distraction from that goal.
The Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy (EN-1) states that the UK Government expects electricity consumption to double or even triple by 2050 as a result of the electrification of demand (such as for heating and transport). And yet Germany, which is planning an entirely non-nuclear route, even with the same 2050 objective of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases, expects electricity demand to be 25% below present levels by 2050 by implementing energy efficiency programmes. If, instead of planning for a doubling or tripling of electricity demand by 2050, the UK Government was planning for a reduction of 25%, as in Germany, then the capacity required by 2025 would fall by around 15%, removing the need for new reactors. Not only that, but carbon savings could start immediately rather than waiting ten years for Hinkley to be built.
You will know that energy consultancy McKinsey produced a report for DECC in November 2012 which concluded that the government could use energy efficiency measures to cut 103TWh off the country’s electricity demand by 2030 (more than 25%). Almost all of these savings “have net savings from a societal point of view”.
I urge you to look in particular at the evidence from the Association for the Conservation of Energy to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee investigation into energy subsidies. This shows that it is quite possible to come up with Energy Pathways which are cheaper, achieve climate and energy security objectives, but do not require new reactors. These scenarios could save between £98.4 billion – £998.8 billion over the next 40 years.
The Coalition Government is supposed to be committed to eradicating fuel poverty by 2016 “as far as reasonably practical”, so there needs to be much more national effort on energy efficiency in any case.
In 2006 in your pamphlet “Where will Blair hide his nuclear tax bombshell?”* you said that nuclear power was unaffordable and unnecessary. Perhaps you were seduced by EDF and others a few years later talking about nuclear power at £45/MWh. But now, with costs probably about double that, it is clear that EDF was, at best, overoptimistic.
It’s time to give up on nuclear pathways and put all your energies into sustainable pathways.
Go on Ed – be a hero.