There has been a large amount of speculation surrounding the future state of the UK’s energy industry, especially after the recent delay of EDF Energy’s nuclear project: Hinkley Point, which has once again been held back by the government for further review.
Not only is the project receiving backlash about the large amount of external investment, particularly China, but also from the community of the anti-nuclear, who are insistent renewable energy is a better clean energy option for the UK’s industry.
It’s seen by many that a new large nuclear project is the only option in helping towards Britain’s increasing energy demand. As covered by Energy Jobline here, the UK’s energy demand is getting higher and higher, but renewable energy isn’t a cost effective or efficient option at present due to the lack of knowledge about energy storage.
A new thought process from the government is that renewable energy could in fact be cheaper than new nuclear by the time the £18.5 billion project is operational. An unofficial report by the department of energy shows predictions that onshore wind power and large-scale solar will cost roughly £50-75 per megawatt hour of power generated in 2025. Whereas new nuclear is expected to be around £85-125 MWh.
“The [energy] department’s forecasts for the levelised cost of electricity of wind and solar in 2025 have decreased since 2010. The cost forecast for gas has not changed, while for nuclear it has increased,” said the report.
Despite these revelations, Nuclear power takes up much less land than renewable energy sites such as wind and solar farms. Wind energy in particular, has received huge criticism for its effect on the local community. It is also a great deal more reliable than renewable energy, which is currently at the mercy of the weather. Even if the issue of cost effectiveness with renewables is demolished, the means of storing renewable energy is yet to be discovered.
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