George Osborne went to China and offered loan guarantees for the building of Hinkley Point. Details are unclear but it looks as though Chinese power companies will now not bear the full cost of overruns. As is common, risk has been socialised and profit privatised.
DECC and the Treasury want us to believe that Hinkley remains a good deal for the British taxpayer. They attempted successfully to get the BBC to republish a chart showing the relative costs of various types of low carbon electricity sources. The numbers DECC used were wrong, both for nuclear and for renewables. DECC should not have issued this chart and the BBC should not have published it without checking.
Here is a table showing the real costs today paid for new renewables projects under the Contracts for Difference scheme for renewables. (The nuclear price guarantees are the essentially the same as the CfD scheme).
Prices paid per megawatt hour
*Estimated by me by measuring the position on the bar chart. No figures provided.
**Solar PV for delivery 2016/17.
*** Hydo price under ROC scheme in England and Wales. Scotland is less.
Nowhere on the chart does it point out that Nuclear will get the subsidy for 35 years while all other electricity sources get CfDs for only 15 years.
You will notice that instead of Nuclear being relatively cheap, as the government pretends, it is actually more expensive than Onshore Wind, Solar PV and Hydro. And that is even before the huge difference in subsidy periods is factored in. Of vital importance, it also before the continuing expected decrease in Solar PV, Onshore and Offshore Wind costs. At current rates of progress, Solar PV will be at grid parity in the UK before Hinkley ever sends its first electron out. In other words, Solar PV will almost certainly be less than half the cost of Hinkley.