£24.5 billion is a great deal of money. It would equip every home in the United Kingdom with solar water heating systems. However, things being as they are the UK government has decided that a better use for the money (some of which will be provided by EDF, is to build a new nuclear power station at Hinckley Point in Somerset. The £24.5 billion is merely the construction cost. Another £7 billion is required for working capital.
The project was originally costed at £16 billion, but for some reason the original estimate was out by a mere £8.5 billion.
Construction of the new nuclear power station will start in 2021 and the plant is expected to be operational in 2023 when it will produce (it is estimated) about 7% of the UK’s electricity. It will be of a new design and have an estimated life of 60 years.
The UK’s existing nuclear power stations are very old and most of them have already been extended beyond their original estimated working lives.
The UK taxpayers will support the project by providing a government guarantee to buy the electricity generated at twice the existing wholesale price. Originally the government wanted to provide a higher subsidy but the European Commission prevented it from doing so. Some EU nations think that no state aid should be provided for nuclear power and that state aid should be reserved for renewable energy, so they are taking action to review the decision of the European Union’s Commission in the courts.