Green Light for Hinkley Still Leaves Capacity Question

LONDON, September 23, 2016

As the government presses the button for Britain’s controversial next power station, many in the energy community are forecasting a big role for renewables.

With some estimates putting the Hinkley completion date at 2026, there’s a clear danger of a capacity shortfall, especially capacity with a low carbon profile.

Martin Wright, the chairman of the UK’s Renewable Energy Association, sees renewables as a nimbler way of solving this energy gap.

“(The) problem of requiring power generation needs to be solved quicker than Hinkley will be able to do because it has been delayed so long.”

FRE plc, with a strong industry presence, is one such company offering an alternative. It’s launching phase 2 of a Scottish wind turbine project this month and says it’s looking forward to meeting the gap for clean energy.

“We obtain full accreditation on all of our wind turbine sites, with Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) income guaranteed for 20 years,” says FRE CEO Gerry Woods. “With spare capacity on the UK grid running at just 1.2%, the lowest for 10 years, our role has never been more important.”

Last week the surge price for electricity hit a massive £999 /MWH for a particular hour block, reflecting acute short-term problems with capacity.

This is the kind of issue that could look very different in ten years’ time.

Martin Wright adds that decentralised energy will “come much more to the fore”, and that energy storage will “make a much bigger contribution” than people foresee.

If he’s right, it’s possible that by the time Hinkley is built, wind and solar can produce more dependable capacity. In that scenario, Hinkley could become redundant before it’s been finished.