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UK energy secretary admits energy supply would be OK even if Hinkley nuclear cancelled or delayed

text Hinkley cancelledMinister admits lights would stay on even if Hinkley nuclear plant is delayed Guardian,  , 19 Apr 16  UK energy secretary admits for the first time that any delays or cancellations to new nuclear reactors would not compromise national energy supply. The UK’s energy secretary has admitted for the first time that the lights would stay on if new nuclear reactors at Hinkley were cancelled or delayed.

Amber Rudd has previously said that “energy security has to be the number one priority” and that new gas and nuclear power would be “central to our energy-secure future”.

But in a letter released on Tuesday in reply to MPs on the energy and climate change select committee, which asked what contingency plans were in place if Hinkley is delayed or cancelled, she said: “While we have every confidence the deal will go ahead, we have arrangements in place to ensure that any potential delay or cancellation to the project does not pose a risk to security of supply for the UK. I am clear that keeping the lights on is non-negotiable.”

She also said that delays to the troubled plant could risk the UK missing its targets to cut carbon emissions, and that alternatives could cost more but would not represent a “significant increase” in cost in the short term.

The final decision by French-state owned company EDF to go ahead with Hinkley has been repeatedly delayed and the billion of pounds of state subsidies and the feasibility of the giant project have been widely criticised. Last week one of the UK’s major investors, Legal and General, called Hinkley “a total waste of money”………

report from the government’s National Infrastructure Commission in March found that “smart power – principally built around three innovations, interconnection, storage, and demand flexibility – could save consumers up to £8bn a year by 2030, help the UK meet its 2050 carbon targets, and secure the UK’s energy supply for generations.”

Angus MacNeil, chair of the energy and climate change committee, said: “[Rudd’s] letter shows the government has had to finally concede the need for a Plan B on Hinkley, although the detail is sketchy. New capacity must be brought online in a way that is compatible with our decarbonisation targets. That means limiting the role of fossil fuels and maximising the use of smarter low carbon options to meet demand.”……..

ohn Sauven, Greenpeace’s UK director said: “There is absolutely no reason that the UK could not meet our decarbonisation targets if the government dropped Hinkley and gave renewable energy businesses a fraction of political and financial support that nuclear and fossil fuel companies enjoy.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/19/minister-admits-lights-would-stay-on-even-if-hinkley-nuclear-plant-is-delayed

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April 20, 2016 - Posted by | politics, UK

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