Offshore Wind Better Choice for UK than Hinkley Point C?

Following UK Government’s decision to re-examine EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project, offshore wind has emerged as a potentially better solution for the country than nuclear power. 

Namely, after the board of EDF approved Hinkley Point C, which would be built together with China General Nuclear (CGN), and was ready to enter into an agreement with the government, the government decided it will look into the nuclear power project once again. “The government will now consider carefully all the component parts of this project and make its decision in the early autumn,” The Guardian quotes Greg Clark, Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as saying.

Commenting on the matter, Head of Offshore Wind at the Crown Estate, Huub den Rooijen said: “As the Committee on Climate Change urges Government to consider alternatives if there are delays to renewing our nuclear fleet, we should remember our seabed is a powerful energy asset.

“We have an inexhaustible supply of reliable and clean power right on our doorstep, and competitively priced offshore wind now offers a mature part of the solution for the UK’s energy mix.”

Den Rooijen went on to say that offshore wind construction costs have come down by more than 40% in the UK alone and, by 2025, industry and government expect UK prices to be comparable with new gas generation at around £85/megawatt hour (MWh).

He highlighted the results of the latest Dutch offshore wind tender, which led to the the price of £80/MWh for the power produced by a 700MW offshore wind farm, which is significantly lower than Hinkley Point at £92.50/MWh, den Rooijen said.

Furthermore, Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive, said for Politics Home that the Hinkley Point C decision is not that significant as there are enough credible alternative projects which could be built in time to deliver the balanced energy mix the UK needs.

“And the alternatives are not necessarily more expensive. The state of the art 7MW turbine blades used in our Beatrice wind farm will be manufactured at Siemens new manufacturing plant in Hull, helping to develop a UK supply chain to allow this technology to go toe-to-toe with nuclear on cost by 2025. This is an opportunity to seriously build part of a UK industrial strategy around,” Phillips-Davies said. “So, whatever is decided on Hinkley is, for me, a second order issue.”

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