A report from The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has stated the UK can meet both its energy and climate change targets if the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is not constructed.
The report suggests alternative options, such as windfarms, connecting the UK grid with other countries, and managing demand would be cheaper, saving around £1bn annually.
ECIU's director Richard Black has stated the report indicates while Hinkley Point C could form part of the UK’s future energy mix, it is not essential. He says: “Despite years of debate on Hinkley, we’re still not sure whether or not it’s going to get built – the Prime Minister is due to make a decision next month, but even if she says ‘yes’ there are many other issues that could derail the project, including legal cases and EDF’s financial woes.
“So we wanted to know how essential Hinkley is for the ‘energy trilemma’ – keeping the lights on whilst cutting greenhouse gas emissions and keeping costs down.
“Our conclusion is that it’s not essential; using tried and tested technologies, with nothing unproven or futuristic, Britain can meet all its targets and do so at lower cost. So if Mrs May decides to go ahead with Hinkley, all well and good. If she decides not to, or if the project stumbles at a later stage, we have alternatives.”
Replacing all of Hinkley Point C's potential electricity output with additional offshore windfarms would reduce an average household bill by £10-20 per year. In addition, replacing the nuclear plant's expected peak-time output with gas-fired units would save £16bn in infrastructure costs.