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Fundamental problem with Britain’s Wylfa nuclear power programme – it’s a ripoff

Observer 10th June 2018, Set aside the debate over whether it’s right that the government should
be proposing to use more than £5bn to help Hitachi. There is a more
fundamental problem with the project: it’s a rip-off.

Even with a state stake, the project will be ridiculously costly for consumers and
alternatives are much cheaper. The government is understood to be
considering a guaranteed price from the Wylfa project on Anglesey of around
£77.50/MWh of electricity: a subsidy to be paid through energy bills for
35 years.

It looks cheap compared to the £92.50/MWh promised to EDF Energy
for Hinkley Point C in Somerset. But that is like saying a Lotus is
affordable compared with a Ferrari. Hinkley was branded “risky and
expensive” by the spending watchdog. It is not a good yardstick.

As one MP pointed out, offshore windfarms have won contracts for as little as
£57.50/MWh. “That is the real cost benchmark that the government should
use,” said the SNP’s Alan Brown. Solar and onshore windfarms would be
even cheaper, but have had their subsidies scrapped. Storage, smarter grids
and imports can help the UK manage renewables’ variable output. Clark’s
intervention shows the economics of new nuclear do not work. Why should
consumers pay through the nose when there are lower-cost alternatives?

June 13, 2018 - Posted by | general

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