Nuclear Power Stations or Wind Farms – Which Is More Cost-Effective?
Historically, wind farms have come under fire from their critics for being too inefficient and expensive to be cost-effective. However, rapid developments in the technology have resulted in plummeting costs, and the chief of a leading energy company now believes that it is nuclear, and not wind, which won’t be able to compete going forward.
Hans Bunting, the chief of renewables at Innogy SE, pointed to the wind farm his company are developing off the coast of Lincolnshire, which has secured a government subsidy allowing it to offer energy at £74.75/MWh – that’s significantly lower than the £92.50 secured for the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.
Winds of change
Even when the finalised plans for Hinkley C were announced last September, the plan was greeted with scepticism from certain quarters. Critics said the technology behind the incentive was out-dated and unproven, as well as involving all of the quandaries normally associated with nuclear waste.
One aspect not thought to be under threat, however, was its cost-effectiveness in comparison to renewable technologies such as wind power. In the intervening 12 months, the government have since granted three sizable subsidies to developments at Triton Knoll (mentioned above and set to employ the biggest world turbines in the world), Hornsea (near Yorkshire) and Moray (up in Scotland).
All three have secured a significantly cheaper MW/h than Hinkley, with the latter two guaranteeing £57.50. Triton Knoll is more expensive as it is scheduled to be completed a year sooner, though all three will become operational before Hinkley C.
What they say
Bunting has cited those prices as evidence that wind is already significantly cheaper than nuclear – and added that the falling costs in the industry mean that wind will be even more affordable by the time Hinkley C comes online.