Hinkley Point C Rising Costs 4th July 2017
To The Editor, The Guardian
Hinkley Point rising costs
As Nils Pratley reported (3rd July) the cost of Hinkley C power station has just bumped up £1500 million, and its completion date slipped 15 months. Notwithstanding, pro-nuclear politicians will assure us that it still represents good value for the consumer – despite the National Audit Office judging it “a high-cost and risky deal” (Guardian, 22nd June).
Had we invested that £1500 million in green generation, what might it have bought…? At current median project prices of $1.7million per MW (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2016) i.e. £1.3 million per MW, that could have delivered 1150 MW of extra onshore wind turbine capacity.
The Digest of UK Energy Statistics onshore wind load factor is 27.3%, therefore that extra hardware would on average generate 314 MW of clean electricity: no risk of reactor meltdowns, and without producing bomb material or the wherewithal for nuclear terrorism; furthermore, wind turbine projects bring with them well-distributed inward UK investment, installation and maintenance jobs, wayleave revenue for landowners, rates revenue for local authorities, and local community income. Home-generated power – without the need for oil wars or fracking, and no damaging Balance of Payments issues.
History tells us that this Hinkley cost increase/start delay is only the first of many such announcements; meanwhile the failure of Toshiba’s nuclear power business surely casts doubts on the viability of even the largest nuclear equipment manufacturers. As almost every other administration quits nuclear power as fast as possible in favour of clean electricity, smart demand response, and storage technologies, why are we still backing megalithic, inflexible, economically toxic EDF Betamax?
1 West End, Marloes, HAVERFORDWEST