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UK Should Back Renewables Over Nuclear, Advisors Say

Transmission lines

The UK should back renewables and support only one more nuclear plant after Hinkley Point C before 2025, because renewable energy is the safest bet for a low-cost energy system for Britain in the long-term, the National Infrastructure Commission—an independent advisory group set up in 2015 to give recommendations to the UK government—said in its first report on Tuesday.

“Britain has a ‘golden opportunity’ to switch to greener ways of providing energy to homes and businesses without increasing bills – but only if Ministers act now to make the most of it,” the Commission said in its National Infrastructure Assessment.

According to the report, the UK could make the switch to low-carbon and renewable sources for both the country’s power and heating, combined with a move towards electric vehicles by 2050, without the customers having to pay more in real terms for their energy than they pay today.

In order to achieve the low-carbon future, the UK must take measures now to continue to invest in low-cost renewable technologies such as wind and solar, boost efforts to improve energy efficiency, and support a rapid switch to electric vehicles.

At present, around 30 percent of the UK’s electricity comes from renewable sources, up from 12 percent five years ago, the advisors said in the report. The assessment recommends that the UK Government take steps to push the renewable share further and ensure that a minimum of 50 percent of electricity comes from renewables in 2030, the commission said, therefore “cautioning against a rush to agree government support for multiple new nuclear power stations.”

Related: Oil Prices Rise On Supply Outage In Norway

The advisors propose that after Hinkley Point C in Somerset, the government should agree to support only one more nuclear plant before 2025—to give flexibility to move towards newer low-carbon energy sources, while keeping the UK’s nuclear supply chain and skills base.

According to the commission’s charter, the UK government has to respond to the recommendations not later than a year after the publication, and wherever possible, within six months.

According to energy analytics firm EnAppSys, in Q2 2018, a total of 41 percent of the UK power came from gas-fired plants, 28 percent from renewables, 23 percent from nuclear plants, 7 percent from imports and 1 percent from coal plants. Of the power that came from renewables, 49 percent came from wind farms, 27 percent from solar, 21 percent from biomass, and 3 percent from hydropower.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mershy on July 10 2018 said:
    Nuclear power is a superior source of power generation and should be expanded. It has the highest power density, lowest level of lifetime CO2, safest per unit energy, and it works 24/7.
    It is a fundamental threat to fossil fuels, because intermittent renewable sources need dispatchable generation infrastructure that is cheap to build with fossil fuels. If too much nuclear power is built, fossil fuels stop being used and less solar/wind is needed, this hurts pocketbooks of these special interest groups. Fear mongers also love to capitalize on nightmares about Godzilla, Mothra, and green oozing goo from the movies, to avert people from the bigger issue of climate change.

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