Nuclear will add ‘considerable cost’ to energy bills


  Westminster’s damaging obsession with nuclear power will add “considerable costs” to consumer energy bills for decades to come – according to a leading energy firm.
A report by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has said that the UK Government’s deal for the construction of two reactors at the Hinkley Point nuclear power station will see increased energy bills for the next 35 years.

According to the report: “the deal which the UK government has reached with EdF over the construction of two reactors at Hinkley Point, which will add considerable costs to consumer energy bills for 35 years.”
The report adds: “One leading analyst, Peter Atherton, described it as “the most expensive conventional power station in the world” and a ‘clear case of socialising risk and privatising profits’.”

The new SSE report echoes warnings in a December report led by Dr David Toke from the University of Aberdeen – which also pointed to the increased costs to consumer bills from new nuclear power.

In December last year, the report’s authors said: “We previously argued that, relative to remaining with the Union, Scottish Independence could substantially increase the cost to Scottish consumers of achieving its renewable energy targets.  However, having reviewed the impact of the [UK] Government’s recent decisions on nuclear power and incentives for renewables, we believe that this is no longer the case.”

On 18 December 2013, the European Commission stated that new nuclear costs will likely push up consumer bills, stating Hinkley C  “could hardly be argued to contribute to affordability – at least at current prices, when it will instead and most likely contribute to an increase in retail prices.”
Scotland’s Future makes clear that after a Yes vote, the Scottish Government proposes to permanently transfer the responsibility for the Energy Company Obligation and the Warm Homes Discount from consumer bills to the government – reducing energy bills by around £70 per year on an ongoing basis, but also ensuring that vital energy efficiency measures go ahead – unlike under UK Government policy.

The taxpayer subsidy that the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station could receive dwarfs the amount offered to renewables.  Hinkley Point could receive an estimated £35bn subsidy – over four times the cost of support to all renewable development across the UK over the last ten years. 

The SNP has previously called upon the UK Government to provide appropriate investment and support for the renewables industry – rather than continuing to direct support at nuclear energy.
Commenting, SNP MSP Mike Mackenzie said:
“SSE has confirmed that the UK Government’s investment in nuclear will add costs to energy bills for the next 35 years– people in Scotland will be lumbered with the bill for Westminster’s obsession with nuclear power.
“As SSE points out, energy experts have highlighted the risks and costs associated with nuclear energy – and last year the European Commission has also warned that nuclear power could push up energy prices for consumers.

“Scotland has the potential to be the renewables powerhouse of Europe – a Yes vote will allow Scotland to take action to prioritise our incredible renewable resources, and cut energy bills by around £70 a year on a permanent basis.”