New Nuclear Build Needs Better Incentives
by S Jones
new nuclear build incentives
If the UK new nuclear build programme is to succeed then just putting a floor under the carbon price will not be enough, says Volker Beckers, CEO of RWE nPower.
With Wylfa on Anglesey being among the preferred sites for new nuclear build, the way in which the power generation incentives framework develops is hugely significant for the island economy going forward.
RWE nPower and E.ON UK have formed a joint venture, Horizon Nuclear Power,which aims to develop a new power station at Wylfa Head on Anglesey
Setting a floor for the carbon price is a policy approach that had support from both the Conservatives and Labour during the recent UK general election.
Mr Beckers agrees with the market incentives which favour investing in a broad range of renewables such as biomass and wind energy and believes this is the way forward. But he adds that such an approach needs to be set up for all low carbon energy sources which includes nuclear.
He urges governments to make sure incentives are aligned broadly in a way that ensures technologies designed to meet the long term energy and climate change challenges get the needed investment.
It boils down to this. Rather than there being simply a renewables obligation, which is the current system, there needs to be a broader, low carbon obligation, which would facilitate new build including nuclear power.
RWE NPower is looking ahead to its power generation plans in the
UK market, which includes up to 6GW of new nuclear capacity as well as a major contribution from both onshore and offshore wind energy.
RWE npower renewables already has a significant presence in offshore wind generation in North Wales, with the
development at Gwynt-y-Mor, east of Anglesey
, which was granted consent by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in December 2008.
The island could also potentially benefit from Centrica's interest in developing up to 1,000 turbines off the Anglesey coast, under the new licences issued by the UK Government.
This is a defining moment as there needs to be clarity when the government says yes to nuclear but no to subsidy. The Lib Dem Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, is a well-known nuclear skeptic and so the narrative needs to move forward if low carbon baseload power generation is to be established in Britain.
What Volker Beckers seems to be calling for is a recognition for all low carbon forms of energy, whether baseload or peak supply, to be treated equally, if economic and sustainable investment is to be made in new energy generation.
With a projected £8 billion forecast to be invested into the island economy as a result of Wylfa B going ahead, and the potential for major local job growth for generations to come, the stakes could not be higher.
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