Business and energy secretary Greg Clark revealed that, as well as taking a one-third equity stake in Wylfa and agreeing to shoulder all of the project’s debt financing, a strike price of £75/MW hour was on offer to Hitachi.It is hard to see how the government could have been much more accommodating.
Clark’s admission that new build nuclear has been “outcompeted” points to a shift in the UK’s long-standing reliance on nuclear as its last resort source of generation capacity.
Renewable generation hit a new record high in the second quarter of 2018, which included the first month of last summer’s heatwave. And solar generation helped pick up the slack created by the “wind drought” that stopped the turbines spinning across much of the UK during June, illustrating the renewable system’s growing resilience.
Meanwhile, Clark faces awkward questions. Recent figures show that about 12TWh of onshore wind generation capacity has planning consent but is not being built out because of the government’s bar on allowing it into the CfD process.
Energy minister Claire Perry has argued that the government cannot renege on its manifesto commitment on the issue.
However the energy white paper, to be published this summer, provides an opportunity to explore fresh thinking for the next parliament. Hitachi’s decision makes this kind of fresh thinking all the more pressing.