For nuclear’s cost, U.K. could have six times the wind capacity

For nuclear’s cost, U.K. could have six times the wind capacity

Britain could have six times the power-generation capacity for the same money by investing in wind turbines instead of the 24.5 billion-pound ($37.9 billion) Hinkley Point nuclear reactor.

That’s the conclusion of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a London-based researcher that estimates the cost of power from renewables in the U.K. are rivaling fossil fuels even without subsidy. Wind easily beats the more expensive nuclear plant that Electricite de France SA is building with the support of investment from China.

The findings highlights the trade-offs Prime Minister David Cameron weighed in his decision to support Edf’s bid to build the first new reactors in the U.K. in more than two decades. In backing nuclear and maneuvering to draw Chinese funds, Cameron prioritized reliability of supply and the impact on rural landscapes over cost.

The chart below shows Bnef’s estimates for what power would cost from new plants built using a variety of technologies. It shows a wide range for each, reflecting huge differences in fuel and construction costs in every nation.

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In some places, notably the U.K., wind is cheaper than nuclear. The new Edf plant at Hinkley Point will sell electricity for 92.50 pounds per megawatt-hour. That compares with lowest contract price of 79.23 pounds for supplies from onshore wind-power plants that the government awarded in February after a competitive auction.

Hinkley Point will supply 3.2 gigawatts of electricity to the grid. Spending the equivalent money on wind would give 21 gigawatts of capacity, said David Hostert, a wind energy analyst at Bnef in London.

 

Source: Bloomberg

Date: October 2015

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Tags assigned to this article:
energy policynuclearUnited Kingdomwind

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