The costly deal between the UK Government and EDF Energy to subsidise the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station may be close to gaining approval from EU competition authorities (see here). Nuclear has failed to keep its promise of providing cheap electricity even though at one point it was claimed it would be too cheap to meter. To make the Hinkley C nuclear deal happen EDF have been guaranteed almost double the current market rate for electricity and UK households look set to pay over the odds bills as a result.
acknowledges the very high capital costs of nuclear power and nobody yet knows
for sure what decommissioning costs will finally be because we have
insufficient experience of it. Nuclear is a very large drain on both public and
private resources that we should be directing into options consistent with
sustainability such as energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. However, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín
Almunia supports approving of public funding for building Hinkley C. The imminent
decision is taken not by one but by a college of all the EU Commissioners but
Almunia’s view obviously carries weight.
has been sent by a group of over 20 academics, politicians and renewable energy
companies to EU Competition Commissioner Almunia, Commission President Jose
Manuel Barroso and his successor Jean-Claude Juncker urging them to take due time
to consider this crucial decision properly. The letter, whose signatories
include Molly Scott Cato Green MEP for the South West, warns of legal action in
the event of a rushed decision.
EU Commissioners will rule on
whether the deal amounts to illegal state aid. Nuclear opponents say the two
proposed reactors at Hinkley Point infringe EU single market rules on the
internal energy market, if the £16 billion development proceeds as currently
agreed. Alternative developments to perform the same function have not been set
against the nuclear proposal.
Debates on UK energy
policy focus almost exclusively on energy generation/production and often neglect even to mention energy saving and energy efficiency.
It’s much cheaper to save energy and be efficient than it is to generate it -
not only does it cut household bills and increase the profitability of
businesses by reducing their outgoings, it also cuts pollution rapidly, is a
very good job creator, can increase comfort, cut noise levels, and can
sometimes be done using materials normally thrown away.
According to the National Insulation Association Britain
has 7 million homes with lofts that need to be insulated. It has 5 million
homes with cavity walls that need to be filled and 7 million with uninsulated
solid walls. If it proceeds unchanged the deal between the UK Government and
EDF Energy would lock consumers into paying well above the going rate for electricity
for decades ahead while the cost of renewable energy falls rapidly. A very bad deal for consumers –
and one that won’t help tackle climate change because the Government's
own [former] advisors at the SustainableDevelopment Commission produced figures to show that even doubling nuclear
capacity would cut the UK's carbon emissions by just 8% and then not until
Saturday, 27 September 2014
Power for your pound
Labels: competition, cost, economics, EDF, efficiency, energy, EU, Hinkley C, insulation, Molly Scott Cato, money, nuclear power, opportunity costs, renewables, subsidy, sustainability
Open University Tutor, Environmental Science and Management; Former Secondary School Science Teacher; Former Research & Development Technologist/Chemist (Polymer Industry); Campaigner for a sustainable society for several decades; Parliamentary candidate in 1987, 2001, 2010