Will EDF Get its Subsidy?

EDF the energy giant has already spent, it says, more than a million pounds every day to keep the project at Hinkley Point where it wants to build a nuclear power plant, viable. It does not want a subsidy. It wants a forty year commitment from the UK government to buy or underwrite the price it will get from the energy generated from the yet to build nuclear plant. It wants a price guarantee of £100 per mWh for 40 years. This is significantly higher than the price guarantee that the UK government gives to producers of electricity from wind power, where they pay out around £80 per mWh for 15 years, not 40 years.

If they started building the nuclear power plant tomorrow I doubt if electricity would come on stream until 2022, so fixing a commitment from the UK government which has to be shouldered by its taxpayers at these levels for such a long period of time is not a task that a government will relish, especially where the equivalent subsidy for wind and photovoltaic generated electricity is so much lower and especially when there is no subsidy for solar water heating.

Of course EDF would deny that they want a subsidy; they call it a price guarantee, but it amounts to the same thing as a subsidy.

EDF argue on the plus side the project would create 25,000 jobs, but a similar subsidy for solar water heating would create many more jobs, with a greater share of the profits remaining in the United Kingdom. Obviously subsidies are only for large foreign companies, not small British businesses.

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