Hinkley – is there a point?

Despite the deals, dual fuel and constant noise about changing your supplier, domestic suppliers of energy still appear to make the process opaque and painful.  But if you think that’s pain, how about paying almost three times the market price for electricity, indexed to inflation for 35 years – that’s the Hinkley Point proposition.  A risk free investment guaranteeing bumper returns, all paid for by UK electricity consumers, yip, that’s you and me.

We have brilliant manufacturing and engineering businesses in the UK, Rolls Royce to name but one, but what is the British involvement in Hinkley?  It is German and French technology funded by Chinese and French state owned business.  The British role, oh yes, to grotesquely overpay for the power it produces.

There is a case, a good case, for nuclear as part of our energy plan going forward.  Nuclear can play a key part in our decarbonisation commitments, new nuclear technologies such as AP1000 and the ABW reactors should prove much better value than Hinkley’s European Pressurized Reactor [EPR].  We need to invest, not least in research, to enable British business to be at the centre of the boon that will certainly be there for nuclear providers for decades to come.  We need the engineering, the construction, the manufacturing boost and it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have a piece of the IP in this area.

Hinkley, however, neither makes any economic nor technological sense. The numbers don’t work, EDF no longer have the dosh and the proposed EPR is proving practically unbuildable.

Let’s be bold, let’s show political courage and cancel this part of the nuclear plan rather than keeping fingers crossed that the French Government will walk.  No Hinkley in no sense means no nuclear, or even necessarily a decline in new nuclear over the coming 20 years, it only needs to mean a change in the timing of those new reactors coming on grid.

For the sake of the UK tax payer, for the sake of the UK electricity consumer, it’s high time we pulled the plug on this parlous power project.