The Coalition Government has launched its revised National Policy Statements (NPSs) on energy, which map out a future with over half new generating capacity coming from renewable sources by 2025.
But that new renewable capacity will not include the proposed 8.6 GW tidal energy project in the Severn estuary in the south west, which could have met up to 5% of the UK’s electricity demand.
The Government’s feasibility study of the proposal has dubbed it too costly and challenging to attract the necessary investment in the current economic climate.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the country’s energy will have to come from fossil fuels with yet-to-be demonstrated carbon capture and storage and nuclear power.
“I’m fed up with the stand-off between advocates of renewables and of nuclear which means we have neither,” Secretary of State for Energy Chris Huhne said in a statement. “We’ll need renewables, new nuclear, fossil fuels with CCS, and the cables to hook them all up to the grid.”
The nuclear NPS confirms eight sites for potential new nuclear power stations – Bradwell in Essex, Hartlepool, Heysham in Lancashire, Hinkley Point in Somerset, Oldbury in Gloucestershire, Sellafield in Cumbria, Sizewell in Suffolk and Wylfa on Anglesey.
But potential sites at Dungeness in Kent and Braystones and Kirksanton in Cumbria have been ruled out because of environmental concerns.
The policy statement also confirms that only two new nuclear reactor designs – Westinghouse’s AP1000 and Areva’s EPR – have been approved for development and that developers will have to meet new requirements on waste clean-up.
However, Huhne reiterated that there would be “no levy, direct payment or market support” for new nuclear power and expects the private sector to pick up the tab.
The NPSs have received a cautious welcome, with business lobby group the CBI applauding the decision to drop the Severn barrage project. But Tom Foulkes, director general of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), says the tidal energy potential of the Severn is an opportunity that the UK “cannot afford to let lie”, for which the Government should look to attract private sector investment.
For further information:
UK reiterates support for new nuclear – but without subsidy (12-Aug)
UK Government promises certainty for energy industry (15-Jul)
E.ON and RWE confirm plans for new UK nuclear reactor on Anglesey (31-Mar)
UK Government unveils plans to transform country’s energy mix (10-Nov 2009)
E.ON, RWE and EDF win £400 million UK nuclear site auction (30-Apr 2009)
Iberdrola and SSE look to expand UK nuclear power together (21-Jan 2009)
18 October 2010