22 Jul 2012

Nuclear updates: are government trying to wreck renewables?

A Chinese/French consortium has declared its interest in reviving the scheme at Oldbury where the plant shut down at the end of February after 44 years in operation. The whole situation is in my view quite extraordinary....

As Spinwatch 17th July 2012 write: "The Coalition Agreement between the Tories and Lib Dems pledged to not subsidise nuclear power. Despite this, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Lib Dem Ed Davey, now seems to be prepared to bow to Treasury pressure and kill off the onshore wind industry, whilst pretending the Government is not planning to subsidise dangerous new reactors. Greenpeace calculates that the onshore wind subsidy that the Treasury is so concerned about amounts to about £20 million per year. This rather puts EDF’s demand for £2.8 billion a year into perspective. All this had led some to question the rationality of The Treasury, which seems to be contemplating hiking consumers’ energy bills to support an industry with a dreadful record of delivering on time and budget, whilst at the same time killing off one of Britain’s most successful industries. Doug Parr, Chief Scientist at Greenpeace tweeted that the Treasury was “Not rational - if they aren't sane how can we trust them with the nation’s finances?”

There was also a letter in The Times 18th July 2012 fromWWF & Greenpeace: "The news that EDF is demanding very high guaranteed power prices for its proposed new nuclear stations is unsurprising. The costs of nuclear power are going up not down. Every new wave of nuclear power has failed to deliver on initial cost estimates, the latest examples of this being £2.7 billion cost overruns at Flamanville, France and £2.6 billion at Olkiluoto, Finland. Paying £165/MWh for power from Hinkley Point would make new nuclear more costly than either onshore or offshore wind."

An extensive review rpublished by the Crown Estate shows that the costs of offshore wind, currently being built at about £140/MWh, will fall rapidly as the technology matures, reaching about £100/MWh by the 2020s. This is completely at contrast with what EDF claims re wind. Ecotricity meanwhile tweeted: "A cut of 25% would be a declaration of war by the government on the renewable energy industry."


Julian said...

There has been a long history of the Nuclear Industry sabotaging renewable energy potential in UK - with Government sanction, for over 30 years.

The Energy Technology Support Unit (ETSU) was set up in 1974 as an agency on behalf of the Department of Energy; its function was to manage research programmes on renewable energy and energy conservation, but it was operated by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and based at Harwell.

Prof Salter's 'Duck' (1974) a very promising wavepower device was an early 'victim' - it was discovered that the Energy Technology Support Unit's cost determinations had mis-estimated the cost of building Salter's duck by more than double the actual cost. Support was ended.

And so on - ANYTHING that threatens the existing status quo, as we have seen with hydropower, agriculture - incredibly even our public health - is discredited or unsupported.

We live in a very sick culture now; our science is thus largely phony, as is our economics.


Anonymous said...

Cameron has often said Britain is open for business. What it seems he meant was Britain is open for sale. There is no other country in the world which would throw open its strategic industrial sectors to a foreign power. That is exactly what the Tories are now proposing to do with handing over the building and ownership of 5 new nuclear power stations to the Chinese. Energy supply is a national security issue as much as military defence, and to hand over control of 5-10% of Britain’s future power supply is taking a risk that no other country would countenance. This is a classic example of the neoliberal (Tory and New Labour) fixation with allowing the market to take all the decisions, even the biggest ones, without regard for the national strategic interest.

Michael Meacher 21st July 2012