Tuesday 5 April 2016 4:29 pm

Abandoning Hinkley Point C and investing in renewables could save tens of billions

Abandoning plans for EDF to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, and instead investing in renewables, could leave Britain better off by tens of billions of pounds.

A report by think tank the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) released today said scrapping the controversial project could save the UK between £30bn to £40bn.

It adds that onshore wind could cost £31.2bn less than power from Hinkley over its initial 35-year contract period, while solar power could be £39.9bn cheaper.

Read more: Former energy secretary "doesn't know" if Hinkley Point C will be built

One of the reasons Hinkley has courted controversy is its generous “strike” price of £92.50 for every megawatt-hour of electricity generated over a 35-year period, a figure that’s more than twice the current wholesale price.

Angus Hanton, IF co-founder, said it lumbers the future generation with expensive electricity, unknown costs for managing radioactive waste, complex and long-term security requirement costs, and a less secure and vulnerable energy infrastructure.

"Cheaper, safer and quicker energy options exist, which represent better value-for-money for current taxpayers while also laying the groundwork for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future."

IF’s findings are based on the government’s "contracts for difference" which subsidises investments in renewable technologies and Bloomberg estimates of future wind and solar power costs.

Read more: Further delays to EDF's Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is a symptom of bad policy

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said: "We don’t recognise the figures presented in the report for the Intergenerational Foundation.

“Hinkley Point C is a good deal for consumers and, once operational will provide 60 years of secure, reliable and low-carbon electricity for the cost of 35. This will help us to keep the lights on while meeting our emissions targets in the most cost-effective way.”