Hinkley Point C will be too late to save UK from energy crisis

Posted on 25 Oct 2013 by The Manufacturer

Lightsource, a UK solar power generator, has written an open letter to David Cameron, expressing concerns that government’s recent agreement to build Hinkley Point C will not address Britain’s immediate energy shortage.

Lightsource, has claimed that the solar industry could deliver the same energy capability as Hinkley Point C in a fifth of the time it will take to build the nuclear power station and at a comparable cost.

The letter also urges the Prime Minister to move away from debating green taxes, and discuss the strategic deployment of sustainable energy technologies to avoid an imminent energy crisis.

The letter – which can be read in full below – was also sent to all the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet Ministers.

Dear Mr David Cameron,

The UK Solar Industry Can Build Hinkley Point C in 2 Years.

I am writing to you as Operations Director of Lightsource Renewable Energy, the UK’s leading solar power generator, and also as a consumer of electricity in this country.

As you are aware, Ofgem has made recent announcements that our country will suffer an energy drought by 2015 as old coal fired power stations are decommissioned.

To avoid the ever increasing risk of blackouts, £110b needs to be urgently spent replacing the 20% of the UK’s capacity scheduled to be turned off by 2018. Whilst the announcement of Hinkley Point C will make a material contribution to plugging the gap without further perpetuating our dependency on fossil fuels, this new power station will only be of use in 10 years’ time at the earliest.

It is our belief that something needs to be done now to address our energy security needs.

We must act to protect consumers from energy prices that have risen by over 25% since 2009. We urge you to move from debating about taxes on energy bills and take a serious look at how our future energy needs can be met sustainably.  Only then can we gain true energy security in pricing as well as supply.

We believe that solar power can provide energy security quickly, reduce electricity bills and protect the environment at the same time.

It not only provides for the local electricity demand, but contributes to the stability of the rural economy and creates local jobs.

The solar sector in the UK is gaining traction and the experience in Italy and Germany has shown that the solar industry has the capability to deliver the same energy production as Hinkley Point C in less than 2 years and at a comparable cost.

However, announcements such as those you made yesterday [Monday October 21] will shake investor’ confidence in the important role the Government has to play in providing the modest and declining support that this nascent business sector receives until it becomes fully self-sufficient.

As a nation, we have the capability to take this matter into our own hands, by educating ourselves about responsible power generation and looking at the options available.  Solar power will not be the entire solution but if we supported its deployment then within a couple of years we could have 10% of the UK’s energy mix completely free from the vagaries of the global fossil fuel markets.

This would then combine with the 9% from Hinckley Point C when it eventually comes on stream. We urge you to provide more education and resource to the nation regarding the true benefits of solar power technology and make the nation aware that we can take this whole matter into our own hands if we chose to.

Yours Sincerely,

Mark Turner

Operations Director, Lightsource