France to Get Double the Current Price for Electricity
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
British Government is expected to sign a deal with France for nuclear power that will see £90billion going into President Francois Hollandeís country. French owned EDF Energy wants a guaranteed price for electricity generated before it will agree to go ahead with the construction of two new nuclear power plants in Somersetís Hinkley Point. These will be the first nuclear plants to be built in Britain since 1995, and will cost £14billion to construct. Government insist that the terms with EDF Energy are still under negotiation. The door has been opened to allow China to invest as a minority investor in Britainís nuclear power business.
Environmental targets for low carbon energy production would appear to be part of the decision to go ahead with the project, as the UK fights to keep energy levels where they need to be. A secure supply of energy needs to be in place for industry and nuclear power will be able to provide that, but the question being asked is whether the price to be paid is too much. According to Energy Intensive Users Group the costs will be higher than those of coal or gas, but is necessary if targets for decarbonisation are to be met, and is a more reliable source of power than other renewables like wind and solar energy, and the project is necessary in an industry that would seem to be out of control.
Energy UKís Angela Knight has said that energy is a business that is worldwide and that investment is needed from wherever it can be obtained to meet the enormous costs of providing new low carbon energy supplies. With the price of offshore wind at £155 MWh, solar power at £125 MWh and on shore wind power at £100 MWh the price of nuclear energy is not only comparable, but slightly cheaper at £90 MWh,and is not reliant on the weather to generate electricity. As coal burning power stations are being forced to close down to meet the EUís climate change agreement, the need for a stable supply of low carbon energy is vital for the on-going development of new resources, and the UK needs the certainty that will come with the building of the two new power plants in Somerset. The main stumbling block has been a fixed price for EDF for energy generated. Without these new nuclear plants the UK could face energy chaos.
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