MP explains why he's backing Hinkley Point C
MP James Heappey has explained why he believes the Prime Minister
is right to have given the £18bn Hinkley Point C project the
go-ahead this week.
MP spoke out after Thursday's announcement that Europe's biggest
construction project will go ahead with a number of security caveats
to control ownership.
delighted that with a couple of caveats the Prime
Minister has decided to give Hinkley the nod," he says.
Prime Minister was absolutely right to look again at the Hinkley
deal and sensible in setting the caveats she has to control ownership.
However, the decision could not wait any longer."
power stations are expensive things but they produce huge amounts
of reliable, low carbon energy, free from the price fluctuations
of the global gas market and the unreliability of the weather. For
an economy the size of ours, that always on base load
is inescapably essential."
those who are saying there are other ways of generating that energy
are not entirely wrong. Im writing this from the west coast
of the United States, where the Energy and Climate Change Select
Committee are currently meeting with some of the policy makers and
companies that are most enthusiastically embracing the renewables-plus-storage
morning we were at Tesla, and after that we were at Nest. The vision
they have is compelling, and with Elon Musk backing one and Google
the other I have no doubt theyll succeed. Yet theyll
be the first to admit that theyre only just getting going."
current nuclear fleet generates about a third of our electricity
and in around a decades time, we have to switch it off."
matter how successfully we encourage greater energy efficiency or
the growth of demand management technologies (and we must keenly
encourage both), we will still need to replace that generations
capacity, because our wider plans for the decarbonisation of heating
and transport will massively increase the electricity load placed
on the UK system."
have every confidence that the ministerial team at BEIS are as enthused
as I am about the decentralised, digitised, and dynamic energy system
of the future. And it is perfectly possible that this sort of system
could be ready to act as base load by the time Hinkley gets switched
the other hand, it might not be. The Government has to make a decision
that makes sure the lights are still on in a decades time."
we cannot be lazy and compare the cost of Hinkley to the current
UK wholesale price of electricity. Nobody can build any sort of
generation system for that."
fired power station developers might currently want a strike price
of around £75 per MW/hr but that is with gas prices as low
as they are at the moment. It certainly wouldnt take much
of a hike in gas prices to get up to the price of Hinkley."
top of that, it is important to note that replacing the current
nuclear fleet with gas would run a cart and horses through our international
commitment to decarbonise."
ambition should be to build this fleet of new nuclear power stations
so that we continue to draw a third of our energy from that always
on base load. Beyond that we should pursue as much renewable
generation as we can manage, and we should aggressively promote
the UK as a place to develop storage technologies."
is a huge industrial opportunity in doing so. Well need some
combined cycle gas turbine power stations to balance out the intermittency
of renewables until that storage capacity is in place but once the
gas has gone, well have a reliable and completely clean source
of energy that can meet the growing needs of our low carbon economy."
are going to switch off our coal fired power stations by the end
of the decade and the current nukes must be switched off within
the decade that follows. Replacement capacity that is utterly reliable
must be commissioned urgently to plug the gap that will be left."
matter how expensive Hinkley might seem, the cost of turning to
standby generation or peaking plants when there is insufficient
power to meet our needs will be significantly higher because the
lights cannot be allowed to go out."