Offshore wind could replace Hinkley in UK at same cost

Offshore wind could replace Hinkley in UK at same cost

Britain could scrap the 18 billion-pound ($23 billion) nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point and get the same amount of electricity from offshore wind turbines for roughly the same investment.

That’s the assessment of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Bnef) following Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to review whether to proceed with the first new atomic plant in more than three decades. For the same capital costs, the U.K. could install about 830 new turbines at sea, which would generate 25 terawatt hours a year — the same amount of power the Hinkley reactors would produce, according to the London-based researcher.

The findings add to the debate over whether Electricite de France SA’s proposal makes economic sense. With the cost of offshore wind turbines falling, developers led by Dong Energy A/S of Denmark are promoting renewables as a better way to get energy without the emissions that cause global warming.

“If we had 18 billion to spend today, we could build 5.7 gigawatts of offshore wind – just under double the capacity and generating the same level of power as Hinkley Point,” said Keegan Kruger, analyst for Bnef.

wind-cost-UK-Hinkley

The Bnef assessment includes only the capital cost of erecting various forms of generation, not operating expenses or the price of fuel. It also sidesteps the question of what would have to be invested to create storage at a giant scale capable of smoothing out power delivered from renewables when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

“Hinkley Point C is competitive with all other forms of low carbon electricity generation,” a spokesman for EDF said by e-mail. “The price of 92.50 pounds per megawatt-hour for Hinkley Point’s output compares to an average of 123 pounds per megawatt-hour for renewable schemes in the early 2020s without including the extra costs of their intermittency. Recent contracts for offshore wind were agreed at an average of 137 pounds per megawatt-hour.”

Source: Bloomberg

Date: August 2016

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