Nuclear plants face shutdown over tax on windfalls

Posted: January 2, 2023 by oldbrew in Energy, government, net zero, Nuclear power
Tags: , ,

Heysham power station [image credit: Belfast Telegraph]

The UK government is running short of electricity supply options due to net zero policies based on climate obsessions, as well as years of reluctance to believe that renewable energy is, and will always be, too erratic and unreliable. A power supply crunch is looming.
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The Telegraph reports:
Two nuclear power stations crucial to keeping Britain’s lights on risk being closed next year as a result of Jeremy Hunt’s windfall tax, their French owner warns today.

EDF, which operates all five of the country’s serving nuclear plants, said the Chancellor’s raid on power producers will make it harder to keep the ageing Heysham 1 and Hartlepool stations open as long as hoped.

It would mean the sites close in March 2024, potentially removing the “cushion” of spare capacity used by the National Grid to avoid blackouts and reducing nuclear power generation in Britain to its lowest level since the 1960s.

Mr Hunt’s windfall tax levy on electricity generators, which was announced in the Autumn Statement in November, comes into force today. Conservative MPs have warned that the raid will reduce investment in the UK’s energy market at a time when the country needs dependable energy sources to balance more intermittent wind and solar power.

The two nuclear stations supply more than two gigawatts of electricity to the grid, typically providing enough power for four million homes per year and around four per cent of the power the UK uses on a cold day.

Rachael Glaving, commercial director of generation at EDF UK, which is owned by the French state, said the windfall tax will damage the business case for the facilities at a time when inflation is already pushing up other costs.

She told The Telegraph: “We accept there’s definitely a need for a levy of some kind – you’ve got to break the link between really high gas prices and the impact they have on power prices.

“But of course that’s going to factor into the business case of life extension and we’ll have to take that [the windfall tax] into consideration. It’s not going to make it easier.

“We will review the technical aspects but we also need a business case to support any life extension, so that has to be factored in as well, and we will have to work out what the right balance is between those two things.”

Experts last night warned that closing the two nuclear power stations would mostly wipe out the four-gigawatt spare capacity the National Grid maintains to avoid blackouts on still, overcast days when wind and solar generation is limited.

Full report here.

  1. saighdear says:

    Uch well, It’s ONLY going to be shut down next year … lot of things can happen by then.
    Och well, it is owned by foreigners any way,
    Huh. … It’s colder today than yesterday, but warmer than it may be tomorrow, and this is only the start of the year. what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander … .

  2. oldbrew says:

    UK Funds Local Nuclear Fuel Production To Cut Dependence On Russia
    Jan 02, 2023

    On Monday, the UK government opened a Nuclear Fuel Fund designed to encourage the use of UK-produced nuclear fuel as the country moves to fulfill its G7 commitment to diversify uranium and nuclear fuel production capacity away from Russia.

    The UK will allocate $90 million (£75 million) in government funding in a bid to support the development of alternatives to Russian fuel supply and strengthen UK energy security, the UK’s Energy and Climate Minister Graham Stuart said on Monday.

    The recent British Energy Security Strategy (BESS) has the ambition to deploy up to 24GWe of nuclear power by 2050, around 25% of the UK’s projected electricity demand then.
    – – –
    ‘Up to…by 2050’? Too late without more fuel powered elec generation to fill the gap emerging *now*.

  3. oldbrew says:

    European Energy Crisis: France Close to Electricity Rationing Over Problems with Local Nuclear Plants
    1 Jan 2023

    France is uncomfortably close to energy rationing as a result of issues it is having with some of its nuclear power plants, a report by The Times has claimed.

    The UK newspaper has alleged that Emmanuel Macron’s France is currently coming close to having to ration energy due to a number of its nuclear power plants being taken offline over the last number of months.

    If true, the news does not bode well for many countries in Europe that rely upon France for some of their electricity, with both the UK and Germany depending on the country for some of their power.

    According to the report published on Sunday, the reduction in the number of nuclear power plants in operation in the country has put extreme strain on the country’s national power grid.

    Warmer weather has since meant that, despite supply issues, energy rationing will likely not be needed, though the country’s power watchdog has warned that a sudden cold snap could change this.

    “Until January 15, we know that we will have no difficulty,” The Times reports Emmanuelle Wargon, who serves as President of France’s Energy Regulation Commission, as saying. [bold added]

  4. ivan says:

    The idiot in government that is trying to pull this stunt needs to realise it is the subsidies paid to the unreliable renewable generators that is the money drain and such subsidies should be ended and a few more reliable coal fired power stations built with the money so saved.

  5. saighdear says:

    Ivan: The idiot ..? surely (all) the idiots in government / authority.

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