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UK: spectacular drop in the cost of offshore wind brings Hinkley nuclear plan into question

Nuclear plans ‘should be rethought after fall in offshore windfarm costs’
Lib Dems and green groups say reduced price of state support should sound death knell for plants such as Hinkley Point C,
Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 12 Sept 17 The government is under pressure to reconsider its commitment to a new generation of nuclear power stations after the cost of offshore wind power reached a record low.

Experts said green energy had reached a tipping point in the UK after two windfarms secured a state-backed price for their output that was nearly half the level awarded last year to Britain’s first new nuclear power site in a generation, Hinkley Point C.

Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the breakthrough should prompt a rethink of the government’s energy plans, which have pencilled in atomic plants at Wylffa in Wales, Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex.

“The spectacular drop in the cost of offshore wind is extremely encouraging and shows the need for a radical reappraisal by government of the UK’s energy provision,” he said.

The government spending watchdog this year described Hinkley as a “risky and expensive” project that generations of British consumers will have to pay for through electricity bills. Experts hailed Monday’s auction results, for a group of windfarms that will open early in the next decade, as evidence that large scale renewable projects had come of age in Britain.

“The epoch of renewables as the most cost competitive technology has arrived,” said energy analysts Cornwall Insight, while the Economist Intelligence Unit said they showed “the trajectory of cheaper renewable technologies is irreversible”.

Ministers said the multimillion-pound pot of subsidies would generate clean power for 3.6m homes. Two windfarms – the Hornsea 2 project off the Yorkshire coast and the Moray offshore windfarm in Scotland – secured a guaranteed price for their power of £57.50 per megawatt hour (MWh) from the government. This is far below the £92.50 awarded to Hinkley last year.

Richard Harrington, the energy minister, said: “The offshore wind sector alone will invest £17.5bn in the UK up to 2021 and thousands of new jobs in British businesses will be created by the projects announced today.”………https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/11/huge-boost-renewable-power-offshore-windfarm-costs-fall-record-low?CMP=share_btn_tw

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September 16, 2017 - Posted by | renewable, UK

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