Nuclear is to wind as Betamax is to Netflix – why Hinkley Point C is a turkey | Letters

Christopher Jessop on why the UK is still backing nuclear power as others dump it; Andrew Warren on how energy efficiency can save us from the ‘energy gap’; Brian Price on the inaccuracy of a 2007 prediction by the head of EDF

You report (4 July) that the cost of Hinkley C power station has just bumped up £1.5bn, and its completion date slipped 15 months. Notwithstanding, pro-nuclear politicians will assure us that it still represents good value for the consumer, despite the National Audit Office judging it “risky and expensive” (Report, 23 June). Had we invested that £1.5bn in green generation, what might it have bought? At current median project prices of £1.3m per megawatt (MW), we could have had 1,150MW of extra onshore wind turbine capacity.

The Digest of UK Energy Statistics onshore wind load factor is 27.3%, therefore that extra hardware would on average generate 314MW of clean electricity, with no risk of reactor meltdowns, and without producing bomb material or the wherewithal for nuclear terrorism. Furthermore, wind turbine projects bring with them well-distributed inward UK investment, installation and maintenance jobs, wayleave revenue for landowners, rates revenue for local authorities, and local community income. They bring home-generated power – without the need for oil wars or fracking, and no damaging balance-of-payments issues.

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