Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has challenged MPs in the South West to unite against Hinkley and in favour of resurrecting previously shelved offshore wind projects. She says that their continued support for the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, and opposition by Tory MPs to both on and offshore wind, represents a huge missed economic opportunity for the South West and higher energy prices for businesses and consumers.
The challenge comes as the price of offshore wind power falls dramatically below the cost of generating electricity from Hinkley. The results of a government auction on Monday for subsidy contracts reveal two offshore windfarms will be built producing electricity for just £57.50 per MWh, compared with the £92.50 per MWh guaranteed for Hinkley’s nuclear power. Dr Scott Cato said:
“Now that the cost of offshore wind is so much cheaper than nuclear, it is time for Conservative and Labour MPs from across the South West region to unite against Hinkley and back renewables. Businesses and consumers are set to pay a 60% price premium on Hinkley relative to the cost of offshore wind so you have to be economically illiterate to continue supporting new nuclear power stations.
“For the South West there are huge economic opportunities to be had from our rich mix of available renewable energy resources, and chief amongst these is off-shore wind.
“Yet looking at the auctions for new government energy subsidies for offshore wind, released this morning, nobody has applied for subsidy to build offshore wind in the South West. Why would they when they know that our region is stalked by Tory dinosaurs who will fight their planning proposals; destroying economic opportunities for local people, pushing up their energy bills, and denying us the clean energy future we deserve?
“It’s time for the region’s Tory MPs to end their ideological pro nuclear, anti-renewables obsession and get behind previously shelved offshore wind schemes; ditched partly due to dogmatic opposition to wind power. The Navitus off-shore wind development in Dorset could have secured enough energy to power 700,000 homes, while the Atlantic Array off the North Devon coast was forecast to power 900,000 homes.
“There are also thousands of jobs to be created in the renewables sector; many more than can ever be created from nuclear. Not only through operating and servicing renewable energy plants but also through manufacturing of components to support the renewables sector. Already we see more than £1 million worth of exports of micro windmills manufactured in Stroud by Ecotricity. Meanwhile, in Hull, Siemens has invested £310 million in wind turbine production and installation facilities, creating over 1000 jobs.
“Now is the time to usher in a new green industrial revolution in the South West, and time our MPs backed this, rather than remaining wedded to the dangerous and expensive technologies of the past.”