PRESS RELEASE: Billions for Wylfa nuclear power, while low-cost solar still shut out of competitive markets?

June 4th, 2018

Today’s announcement by Secretary of State Greg Clark that the government could invest in the development of the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station marks a significant shift in energy policy towards explicit state investment in energy projects. The investment will further tilt the playing field in the energy market which is already highly distorted by Government interventions.

The announcement comes at a time when the utility solar industry has been waiting more than three years for access to competitive UK clean power auctions, where it can offer power at close to wholesale price. Simultaneously, rooftop solar on warehouses and factories, an application which no longer requires Government subsidy, has been stalled by crippling business rate hikes.

Responding to today’s announcement that negotiations have begun, Solar Trade Association CEO Chris Hewett said:

“When Hinkley Point C was given the green light three years ago, we pointed out that the UK solar industry could already supply clean power at half the price. Since then, solar prices have fallen even further, and storage technology is commercialising rapidly. Today solar combined with energy storage can provide low-cost, flexible power whilst supporting a smart energy pathway the Government’s own analysis shows can save consumers billions of pounds.

It is essential that barriers to solar power be removed and that government allow the technology to compete on a level playing field. Otherwise, the UK risks working against the tide of technological change and market forces, at huge costs to consumers and our economy.

They have been warned: their own adviser Professor Dieter Helm rightly highlights that nuclear has a much higher risk of economic stranding given the rapid technology change being driven by solar, EVs, digitalisation and storage.”

It has been reported that a per megawatt-hour (MWh) “strike price” of £77.5 has been agreed for power from the Wylfa Newydd power station for the duration of the project’s 60-year lifespan, and the plant will not start generating electricity until 2025 at the earliest. The cost of UK utility-scale solar PV generation has fallen by approximately 20% per year since 2014 and is currently estimated at £50-55/MWh.

ENDS

For further information or to request an interview, please contact:

Leonie Greene – 07932 720091