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Falling wind energy prices could impact new nuclear plans for the UK - 12th September

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Continued investment into onshore and offshore wind technologies has resulted in wind energy being the same price, if not cheaper, to produce as nuclear power.

This recent fall in energy prices, both for onshore wind and offshore wind, means that wind is now cheaper to produce than Hinkley Point C; the UK Government’s return to nuclear power which gained approval in 2016 amidst heavy opposition.

However, cheap renewable energy has not always been the case. In the early days of Hinkley Point C, the cost of wind per megawatt hour was at £150. Now that prices have fallen, with new wind projects coming in between £57.50 and £74.75 per megawatt hour, Hinkley Point C costs more to produce at a rate of £92.50 per megawatt hour.

These new figures on production costs have spurred calls for a governmental rethink on the Hinkley Point C project, with environmentalists arguing that the costs and risks of nuclear power outweigh the positives compared to wind. The risks associated with nuclear waste, as well as previous nuclear meltdown events in other countries prove that nuclear is far from an easy option.

Wind on the other hand, along with the now cheaper production costs, is far safer and less risky for the environment, and it could be argued that wind farms are more pleasing to the eye than a nuclear power development, possibly making wind energy a more suitable option for the UK’s countryside. Furthermore, the modular nature of wind turbines means that wind farms can be built quicker than nuclear power stations. Wind projects given subsidies in the last few weeks could be operational by 2023, whereas Hinkley Point C is due to be operational by 2025; not including the 15 month delay admitted by EDF.

Wind power presents us with the opportunity to produce clean, safe energy quickly and at new lower prices. Subsequently this has led people to question the suitability of nuclear power as a contender in the UK’s energy production needs.

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