THE UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has increased its cost estimates for the Hinkley Point C project to £36.9bn (US$47.8bn) over its lifetime.
The figure is over two and a half times the £14.4bn estimate quoted by DECC in September 2015 and still over double the estimates of £18bn given in April. DECC says the change is due to new long-term forecasts of £92.50/MWh for wholesale electricity prices. The forecasts determine how much the government needs to pay to match the agreed strike price for Hinkley's energy output.
DECC said these estimates do not reflect the true cost of the project.
“We have set the strike price to protect bill payers if energy costs go up or down, so the cost of the project to consumers will not change,' a DECC spokesperson said in a statement. 'Today's report from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority does not suggest that the lifetime costs of Hinkley have increased. It is a snapshot of the position at the end of September 2015.”
The site’s operator EDF Energy echoed this statement. “A cost estimate based on last year's depressed wholesale price is not relevant,” said an EDF spokesperson.
EDF said in April that it will make its final investment decision on the project in September once it has raised £4.5bn of capital.
The Chemical Engineer contacted the UK’s civil nuclear body The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) for a reaction, but it declined to comment.
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