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Britain’s Tories have done a complete U turn about subsidising nuclear power – the reason why

Dave Toke’s Blog 4th June 2018 , For the sake of artificially massaging down the price paid for electricity
from the proposed Wylfa nuclear plant the Government is about to commit the
country to pay for billions of pounds of almost inevitable construction
cost overruns.

In doing so the Tories will be junking their opposition to
doing such a thing. In 2010 The Conservative Party election manifesto
stated that: ‘we agree with the nuclear industry that taxpayer and
consumer subsidies should not and will not be provided – in particular
there must be no public underwriting of construction cost overruns’

There was a very good reason for this manifesto commitment. None of the nuclear
power plant currently operating in the UK were constructed according to
their original cost estimates. They were built during the time when
electricity was nationalised, and so the costs were spread around all
consumers and there was limited transparency about the economics of
building nuclear plants.

The Tories decided that there should be no more
wastage of public money on nuclear plant which soaked the public purse.
They wanted competition in electricity generation. Nick Butler in the
Financial Times has made some perceptive comments on this peculiar deal. He
is one of the few who has done some serious thinking about how it can
possibly be the case that the Wylfa project will be sold on a ‘cheaper’
price than Hinkley C despite the fact that the projected cost of building
Wylfa is actually higher than Hinkley

The remarkable thing is that despite
this effort at price fakery, the price agreed will still be a lot higher
than that available for installing large amounts of onshore wind offshore
wind and solar power.


June 6, 2018 - Posted by | politics, UK

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