Government watchdog slams Hinkley nuclear power plant

Hinkley C is a bad deal for the British public - and now the government’s own spending watchdog agrees.

In a new report, the National Audit Office (NAO) has condemned Hinkley for ‘locking consumers into a risky and expensive’ deal. And they’re right. Hinkley will cost far too much to ever be a good deal for the British public. In fact, if built it would be one of the most expensive objects on Earth.  

What’s more, the government’s pouring public money into an energy project we don’t even need. By switching all household lighting to LEDs, for example, we could knock almost as much demand off the national grid as Hinkley is going to provide.

And if that’s not enough, the government’s own data tells us the British public just don’t want Hinkley, with 44% of people opposing the project.

Yet the government continues to push Hinkley while blocking cheaper renewable alternatives. This new report from the NAO comes two years after the government imposed a de-facto ban on onshore wind in England - blocking our cheapest and most established renewable energy source.

While Hinkley’s costs spiral, renewables are getting cheaper all the time - and over three quarters of us love them. Onshore wind is already cost competitive with gas and coal. And new offshore wind schemes in the UK’s waters are projected to be cheaper for consumers than Hinkley’s electricity by the 2020s - before Hinkley is due to generate a single unit of power.

Choosing these and other alternatives to Hinkley would save the UK - and consumers - money. Supporting decentralised, community-led renewables like onshore wind would create UK-based jobs, empower local people, and give consumers the opportunity to share in the rewards of the low carbon transition.

Far from footing the bill for a hugely expensive and unnecessary nuclear project, we could all be receiving cheques for the renewable energy we generate in our own neighbourhoods - while benefiting from lower bills at the same time.

Banner photo: Ross Gill