The Stop Hinkley Campaign has welcomed a speech by the former Conservative Secretary of State for Energy (1979-81), Lord Howell of Guildford, who today described the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station as “by far the biggest future burden on consumers and households”.
Although he is “very pro-nuclear” Lord Howell said he “would shed no tears at all if the elephantine Hinkley C Project was abandoned” (1)
Lord Howell’s remarks come just one day after the current Secretary of State for Energy, Amber Rudd, said there is a “very good prospect” of a decision to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant finally being taken later this year. Ms Rudd told MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee that: Hinkley “…is going to be the first new nuclear plant in over 20 years so it is essential to me that we succeed in it.”
The Government announced moves to curb subsidies to small-scale solar farms this morning. (3) This follows similar moves to cut subsidies for onshore wind announced in June, (4) and an end to subsidies for larger solar farms announced in May last year. (5)
Rudd’s motivation is that she wants to prevent an overspend of the government’s clean energy support budget, known as the Levy Control Framework (LCF), which is designed to limit the impact of subsidies on household energy bills. Solar at all scales is expected to add only around £10 to consumers’ bills this year.
Yet the Treasury is offering subsidies – paid for by consumers – of up to £17.6bn to EDF Energy over 35 years. (6)
Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said:
“The Minister appears to be delusional in thinking that Hinkley Point C will get built any time soon; deceitful by pretending that she is helping UK consumers and disingenuous for saying that Hinkley C is a good deal. The list of problems which EDF needs to overcome gets longer every week. (7) Cutting subsidies to sustainable energy, whilst carrying on regardless with a scheme unlikely ever to come to fruition, is just plain daft. Lord Howell reminded us that no reactor of the Hinkley C variety has ever been completed successfully and those that are being built are years behind.”
(1) House of Lords 22nd July 12:13:49 http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/8ae0f3a3-e276-48e1-b921-b6b6e7a148d8
(3) It launched a consultation on proposals to stop solar farms with less than 5MW of capacity accessing the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme from April next year. See Business Green 22nd July 2015 http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2418701/sun-setting-on-key-solar-subsidies-as-government-moves-to-cool-market
(5) Business Green 13th May 2014 http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2344434/breaking-decc-unveils-shock-changes-to-solar-farm-subsidies
(6) FT 20th November 2014 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/41934cb8-70ca-11e4-9129-00144feabdc0.html
(7) See Stop Hinkley Press Release 13th July 2015 http://www.stophinkley.org/PressReleases/pr150713.pdf