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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > June 2016 > Letters


The price of power

As Simon Taylor says, the cost of the Hinkley nuclear power station is prohibitive and rising (“The folly of Hinkley,” May). However, it is not clear if any of the new nuclear options, all of which are unbuilt and untested, would be cheaper. In contrast, renewables are well established and their costs are falling. Onshore wind and photovoltaic solar projects are going ahead with strike prices—agreed levels at which power will be sold—of below £80 per megawatt hour, while a £85/MWh price has been set for offshore wind projects starting in 2026. If the Hinkley nuclear plant gets built, it will start at £92.50/MWh, or more since the price is index linked. Even adding 10 to 15 per cent for the costs of grid balancing, most renewables look a better bet, with far fewer risks. The UK’s renewable resources are arguably the best in the European Union but, offshore wind aside, we trail behind nearly every other EU country in developing them. Instead, we have focused on new nuclear. Time for a rethink?

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s June issue: Bronwen Maddox lays out the case for Britain to stay in Europe—the position taken by the magazine. Mikhail Gorbachev explains his hopes for Russia, suggesting that the claim democracy is bad for Russia is “balderdash.” Rachel Sylvester looks at the Conservative Party and explores what might happen to the Tories after the EU referendum. Also in this issue: Nicholas Shaxson and Alex Cobham unpick the world of hidden money and what Britain can do about tax havens. Neil Kinnock argues that Labour isn’t making progress under Jeremy Corbyn and Jason Burke examines Islamic State and the networks that underpin their attacks. Plus Stephen Bayley asks was BritArt any good?