The announcement that Toshiba was scrapping its 3.4 GW power station in Moorside, Cumbria recently has now been followed by last week’s news that Hitachi is scrapping its 2.7 GW nuclear power plant at Wylfa, Wales, and the suspension of the 2.9 GW nuclear power plant in Oldbury, Gloucestershire. Together, the three nuclear power plants would have supplied 15% of the UK’s energy demand.
The only new nuclear power station to get the go ahead is EDF Energy’s Hinkley 3.2 GW nuclear power plant in Somerset, which is expected to be in operation by 2027.
All but one of the UK’s existing nuclear power stations are due to be offline by 2030 representing an additional 9 GW’s of generation capacity lost, not to mention the decommissioning of 12.3 GW of UK coal power plants by 2025, representing a significant hole in the UK’s energy supply which needs replacing.
The uncertainty around investing in new nuclear, with costs spiraling and renewable energy becoming economically viable without subsidies, is prompting the government to rethink its energy policy with the business secretary Greg Clark announcing to the House of Commons last Thursday “The economics of the energy market have changed significantly in recent years.”
This is good news for renewable energy, and good news for energy storage and flexible short-term generators, such as peaking plants – needed to work with the intermittency of renewable energy to balance the grid; supplying power only when needed to offset the imbalances caused by renewable generation.
With a pipeline of over 400 MW of gas peaking plants and storage projects, this is good news for Suncredit Energy, which is on target to achieve its goal of over 1 GW of renewable and energy balancing by 2023, ensuring that Suncredit is well placed to support renewable energy deployment and help meet the UK’s CCC commitment to 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, without the need for mass deployment of high cost Nuclear Energy.