Nuclear power station will avoid ‘blight’ of 30000 wind turbines, minister says

October 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

“Without new nuclear local people would face many thousands more wind
farms blighting our landscape. By contrast, nuclear power is popular in
areas that have existing stations and will deliver significant jobs and

The deal, which prompted warnings that household bills could rise to cover the
costs of building the plant, was announced by David Cameron during a visit
to Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Experts have warned that Britain is facing an energy crisis, with all but one
of the country’s nuclear power station stations due to close by 2023.

The government has disclosed that the new reactors at Hinkley B in Somerset
alone will produce the same amount of energy as 6,000 wind turbines built on
250,000 acres of land.

Ministers hope to meet Britain’s future energy needs by building 12 reactors
across five sites.

However, despite agreement between Liberal Democrats and Conservatives on the
need for new nuclear power stations Mr Fallon’s comments are still likely to
provoke a Coalition split.

The Conservatives are opposed to building more onshore wind farms, with David
Cameron saying earlier this year that he “wouldn’t expect” many
more to be built in Britain.

The Liberal Democrats only accepted building nuclear power stations as part of
their party policy at their conference last month and highly supportive of
wind energy.

In contrast to Mr Fallon’s comments Ed Davey, the energy secretary, said that
onshore wind turbines remained “very competitive” and that their
costs were continuing to fall.

The deal to build the £14 billion Hinkley Point plant in Somerset with French
company EDF Energy has provoked a new row over rising energy bills.

The government is guaranteeing the price for each megawatt hour of power
produced by the plant at £92.50, twice the present wholesale price, ensuring
billions of pounds of income for EDF Energy.

Analysts have suggested that the move could increase household energy bills by
£8 a year, but Mr Davey yesterday said it would be cheaper than building
wind turbines instead.

He claimed that a new generation of nuclear power stations will reduce the
average British energy bill by £77 a year from 2030. He admitted however,
that he could not “guarantee” that people’s household bills would fall.

He said: “There’s huge amounts of uncertainties here. What’s the gas
price going to do, how quickly will the cost of wind power go down. Will we
get carbon capture and storage to be commercially viable? These are inherent

Mr Davey said that building the power station will create jobs for 25,000
people, although he was unable to confirm how many will be for British

The debate over the scale of the subsidy for EDF comes as the company prepares
to raise prices for its 5 million customers. On Monday Npower became the
latest energy company to raise prices, announcing that customers will face a
hike of 10.4 per cent.

Mr Davey confirmed he confronted EDF executives about price rises in the back
of a car on the way back from Hinkley Point yesterday. They declined to tell
him if they were raising prices.

Vincent de Rivaz, the chief executive of EDF Energy, claimed the company had
yet to make a decision but insisted that any price rise would be at the
“lowest possible level”.

Mr Davey yesterday insisted that consumers would be protected from any hikes
in costs and that EDF Energy would share in the “pain”.

He also dismissed security concerns over Chinese investment in British nuclear
power stations.

Under the deal, the China Nuclear Power Group and China National Nuclear
Corporation will investing in the scheme. However Bob Stewart, a back-bench
Tory MP, said: “I am really concerned. We are in a benign environment at the
moment but say things turn out quite differently, we could be running risks
with our infrastructure”.

Mr Davey said: “We are moving to a new era where we can work with the Chinese
and indeed other foreign states.”

During a visit to Hinkley Point, Mr Cameron said: “This government has a
long-term economic plan for Britain, and we’re delivering, including this
vital nuclear power station which we hope will be the first of several other
nuclear power stations, kick-starting again this industry, providing
thousands of jobs and providing long-term safe and secure supplies of
electricity far into the future.”

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will announce that an
offshore wind farm off the Scottish coast is among infrastructure projects
in line for Government financial guarantees.

The Neart Na Gaoithe wind farm in the Forth Estuary is one of a list of 16
major projects that could get Treasury backing, Mr Alexander will announce.

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