Comment on NAO report on Hinkley Point C

Commenting on a report by the National Audit Office report on Hinkley Point C, Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: 

Hinkley Crowcombe Al 400X400

Hinkley Point C offers 'uncertain strategic and economic benefits', says the NAO. Image: Crowcombe Al, creative commons licence

“The NAO should be commended for highlighting a number of factors that potentially made Hinkley Point C more expensive than it needed to be – headed by a non-competitive and opaque process for awarding a contract that will return around £1bn from UK energy bills to the French state each year.

“As it also notes, the costs of renewables and smart power technology are changing much faster than the Government predicted, and what might have looked good value 10 years ago looks much less so now. Arguably new nuclear build isn’t compatible with the Government’s smart grid ambitions, and the NAO is surely right to recommend reviewing the case for nuclear power once in every Parliament.

“It is surely right also to note that given EDF’s ongoing financial and technical woes, Hinkley C isn’t 100% certain to be built. As it says, Government needs a Plan B; and as we showed last year, a combination of tried and tested approaches including energy efficiency, offshore wind and demand switching, all mature right now, does provide a Plan B should it be required.”