Renewables take another hit with nuclear the preferred electricity generator
As the UK government is pressing on with plans for the next generation of nuclear power plants to be the cornerstone of our future electricity supply, utility companies are pulling out of plans for several offshore wind farms and closing power stations.
The German utility company RWE is reducing the capacity of Triton Knoll by nearly half, and has scrapped the Atlantic Array project.
“The recent optimisation work is part of a project review to make the site more competitive and more economic in line with government proposals to bring down the cost of offshore wind,” RWE said.
The Atlantic Array, with electricity generating capacity of 1,200MW, would have been one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world. RWE scrapped this citing that it just wasn’t economically viable. Scottish Power and Centrica have also stepped back from renewable investment, with the former cancelling a large offshore wind farm, and Centrica selling a project to the Danish company, DONG Energy.
Although one of the leading developers of offshore wind farms in the world (helps that we are an island), the cost of developing offshore wind farms is often prohibitive, since they have to be built out at sea. The government has offered subsidies which are designed to help the developers recover some of the initial investment.
Closure of gas and coal-fired power stations
EON will close a gas-fired plant in Stoke and scale back production at three others. This follows their closure of a coal-burning power station in Kent, while RWE (Npower) has closed Tilbury on the Thames. Other utility companies Centrica and SSE have closed gas-fired stations. Part of the problem is tougher pollution regulations that have come into force.
However, the closed power stations are needed on standby to protect us against predicted future power shortages.
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