Does the UK need Hinkley Point?

  Hinkley Point C is a nuclear project which has been in UK Governments’ agenda since 2006 but do we still need the nuclear plant to be built to secure […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria
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Hinkley Point C is a nuclear project which has been in UK Governments’ agenda since 2006 but do we still need the nuclear plant to be built to secure our energy system?

According to Michelle Hubert, Head of Energy and Climate Change at the Confederation of British Industries (CBI), Hinkley “would be an important part of our energy mix”.

She told ELN: “We need to see we’ve got a major investment challenge if we want to get secure, affordable and low carbon energy into our system so we do need that broad mix, we need to see renewables, we want to see some new gas but we also really need to see new nuclear as well and Hinkley is an important part of that.”

However, Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) Head of Policy James Court believes the project was maybe “a good choice” 10 years ago “when it had gas coal and nuclear as all available options”.

He added: “But in those 10 years renewables have gone from barely anything to 25% of our energy generation.”

Tom Greatex, Chief Executive at the Nuclear Industry Association said: “If we don’t have Hinkley then we are in a situation where we’re going to make it much harder to meet the objectives we need to meet, both in terms of having a secure, reliable as low carbon as possible energy supply and have any chance to meet our climate commitments. Those are two primary policy considerations the government has set and to be able to meet those we need a balanced mix and nuclear is part of that.”

Director at Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit Richard Black compared the cost of nuclear to renewables.

He said: “The other issue is cost and what you’ve seen over the last few years is costs for nuclear are going up and costs for almost all types of renewables are going down with storage following the same kind of pattern and smart meters now. We are a very, very interconnected system, I am not sure that we need Hinkley frankly.”

“People can’t say it [Hinkley] is really, really expensive. It’s very expensive, we don’t need it” added Guillermo Baena, Senior Market Analyst at Advantage Utilities.

He went on: “Of course you need it so you need hundred of billions of investment in the energy system because if not, the energy system is going to get obsolete.”