New Nuclear Build Needs Better Incentives

by S Jones
(North Wales)

new nuclear build incentives

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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Aug 02, 2010
new nuclear plants coming says Huhne
by: Anonymous

Saw Energy Secretary Chris Huhne on Andrew Marr's program yesterday saying that private sector firms will build new nuclear plants in Britain because the country has to reduce its dependency on coal and petroleum fuels.

With ever increasing demand for a finite commodity such as crude oil, it seems inevitable prices for its derivatives will continue to rise. So also with natural gas, the price of which tends to move in line with crude oil prices.

Huhne seems to be happy to let the market decide on which low carbon route to take and although he again said there won't be subsidies for new nuclear plants, he seemed confident that developers were ready to move ahead.

"We believe it will happen.We believe investors will be investing in new nuclear power", he told the Sunday morning BBC program.

Let's hope his belief is well founded!

Mr Huhne also said there was no way electricity prices would be guaranteed. Nuclear would however have the benefit, just like other forms of low-carbon energy technology, of not having to pay through the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

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