Speculation is mounting that concerns over China may be behind the UK government’s shock delay to the Hinkley point nuclear plant in Somerset.
The BBC notes that “under the existing terms of the £18bn project, a Chinese company is to finance a third of the new Hinkley Point C reactors and may later build a Chinese-designed nuclear power station in Essex,” giving China direct access to the UK’s energy system.
A plan for a government share in Hinkley to protect national security – which seems to us a little odd – was apparently blocked by Osborne, well, according to Ed Davey anyway. Meanwhile a junior treasury minister nobody has ever heard of has threatened to resign over the hoopla.
The whole thing opens the door for a very different looking deal to emerge in September, perhaps one with much greater state involvement and even a lower price? Or – as Matt Ridley argues (again) in the Times – perhaps it just opens the door to more gas and less of that “action on climate change” stuff.
In international nuclear news Bloomberg reports that the closure of nuclear plants in the US could drive up emissions.
Offshore wind: Not doing much better
The Guardian reports on how the world’s first large-scale floating wind turbine in the US is facing multiple environmental and financial challenges whilst in the UK the Times reports on the struggle for Scotland’s largest offshore wind-farm to get planning permission noting:
“Scotland’s attempt to be a world leader in renewable energy will collapse in the next seven days unless legal moves to save a £9 billion wind farm off the east coast go ahead, ministers were warned last night.”
In a comment piece the paper argues that the Scottish offshore project and Hinkley both highlight how poor planning for major projects is threatening to derail UK energy policy.