Horizon Nuclear Power has welcomed the announcement from state-owned French generator EDF that it has completed a financial and commercial agreement that will see a final investment decision on their nuclear new build project at Hinkley Point C by the end of the year.
Alan Raymant, Chief Operating Officer of Horizon, said: “This marks a major step forward for nuclear new-build in the UK and we look forward to seeing EDF progress their important project at Hinkley.
“Nuclear power has a vital role to play in helping meet the country’s energy needs and environmental goals and this sends a firm signal that new build is moving ahead in the UK.”
“We at Horizon are making strong progress with our lead project at Wylfa Newydd, using the tried and tested ABWR technology. We expect to complete Step 3 of the ABWR’s Generic Design Assessment shortly and also start our second round of public consultation this winter.
“We look forward to stepping up our discussions with UK Government to build momentum in developing the commercial and financing arrangements critical to the successful delivery of Wylfa Newydd.”
The Horizon statement follows confirmation of a contingent agreement on investment with the EDF project by China’s Nuclear Power Corporation by Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the latter’s state visit to the UK.
EDF said the final cost would be £18 billion. State-owned CGN will pay £6bn for one third of it. EDF said it might sell another 15% stake in the project, but would maintain a majority holding.
Meanwhile, the Solar Trade Association has published a report showing that solar PV could provide the same amount of electricity for half the subsidy cost of nuclear electricity from Hinkley Point C.
The analysis shows that a combination of solar, storage and other flexibility mechanisms would cost consumers roughly 50% less than Hinkley Point C over the 35 year lifetime of the Hinkley subsidy.
Mike Landy, Head of Policy, Solar Trade Association, commented: “We hope this analysis makes people stop and think about how inexpensive solar has become and how competitive it is against other forms of low-carbon generation.”
“We are not saying that solar is the solution to all our energy problems, nor that it could completely replace other technologies.
However the Government needs to explain why it is drastically cutting support for solar energy whilst offering double the subsidy to Hinkley Point C.”
This analysis comes as the Government consults on a number of proposals to cut support to solar PV within both the Feed-in Tariff and the Renewables Obligation.
Paul McCullagh, Chief Executive of Glasgow-based renewable company Urban Wind, commented: “At the same time as the Government is strangling the UK’s green energy sector, we risk handing control of our future energy security to China, as well as inflating energy bills in the future.
“To suggest that renewable energy subsidies were axed due to the impact they had on homeowner’s energy bills, and then to agree a strike price more than twice the current wholesale price for electricity generated by Hinkley Point, seems utterly backwards.
“National Grid have already warned (**) that the chance of blackouts this winter will be the highest for a decade. If we experience an unexpected further outage – like we did last year with the unexpected closure of two EDF nuclear power stations over safety fears – then we could face big problems meeting demand.”
** Scottish Energy News
National Grid to pay UK generators up to £3,000 per megawatt hour to ensure the lights stay on this winter (18 Oct 2015)
Schneider raises alarm over looming British ‘energy crunch’ this winter (15 Oct 2015)