New nuclear power stations in the UK can no longer compete with windfarms on price, according to the boss of a German energy company’s green power arm. Hans Bunting, the chief operating officer of renewables at Innogy SE, part of the company that owns the UK energy supplier npower, said offshore windfarms had become mainstream and were destined to become even cheaper because of new, bigger turbines. Asked whether nuclear groups that want to build new reactors in the UK could compete with windfarms on cost, even when their intermittency was taken into account, Bunting replied: “Obviously they can’t.” His comments came after MPs criticised the £30bn cost to consumers for EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, and said ministers should revisit the case for new nuclear before proceeding with more projects. “What we see now [with prices] is with today’s technology. It’s not about tomorrow’s technology, which is about [to come in] 2025, 2027, when Hinkley will most likely come to the grid … and then it [windfarms] will be even cheaper.” However, EDF argued that nuclear was also on a path to lower costs. “EDF Energy’s follow-on nuclear projects at Sizewell and Bradwell will remain competitive with other low-carbon options and we are confident they can be developed at a significantly lower price than Hinkley Point C.” Bunting rejected the idea that the subsidy costs of paying for clean power should be shifted off energy bills and into general taxation, as British Gas’s boss has argued for. Such a change would make the cost of clean power less transparent and deter households and businesses from taking steps to save energy, he said. “If part of the energy [costs] is tax-financed it will become completely intransparent,” he said.
Guardian 22nd Nov 2017 read more »
In one of the fastest and most astonishing turnarounds in the history of energy, building and running new renewable energy is now cheaper than just running existing coal and nuclear plants in many areas. A widely-used yearly benchmarking study — the Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE) from the financial firm Lazard Ltd. — reached this stunning conclusion: In many regions “the full-lifecycle costs of building and operating renewables-based projects have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional generation technologies such as coal or nuclear.” Lazard notes that in North America, the cost for utility scale solar and wind power dropped 6 percent last year, while the price for coal remained flat and the cost of nuclear soared. “The estimated levelized cost of energy for nuclear generation increased ~35 percent versus prior estimates, reflecting increased capital costs at various nuclear facilities currently in development,” the analysis found. Indeed, as Lazard shows, while solar and wind have dropped dramatically in price since 2009, nuclear power has simply priced itself out of the market for new power.
Think Progress 20th Nov 2017 read more »