Horizon failure puts pressure on UK energy outlook

Last week’s wobble over nuclear has led some in the energy industry to question the Government’s competency in securing future generation. The recent pull-out by RWE npower and E.ON from […]

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By Tom Gibson

Last week’s wobble over nuclear has led some in the energy industry to question the Government’s competency in securing future generation.

The recent pull-out by RWE npower and E.ON from the Horizon nuclear programme has shocked everyone. Nuclear generation seemed to be one of the safest bets under the Coalition, but instead is it possible nuclear could disappear from British shores as a result?

Phil Grant, a Director at energy consultants Redpoint Energy said: “It is certainly bad news in the near term – at least from the angle of perceived riskiness of investing in the GB power market. However, it may also accelerate investment in other technologies as they stand to benefit from any resulting delays or slowdown in the nuclear programme.”

So far Germany, Italy and Switzerland have dropped plans for future nuclear plants in Europe but the UK Government has publicly committed to it. So what does this latest setback mean for UK generating capacity?

Mr Grant added: “We don’t need them operating this decade, but we certainly need to see substantial progress in the development if nuclear is to play a significant role in decarbonising the power sector through the 2020s. One option to consider is further lifetime extensions of the existing nuclear fleet – at least until there is substantial new capacity under development.”