BWE has added its voice to the clamour urging the German government to take legal steps against the subsidisation of new nuclear power capacity in the EU.

The German Wind Power Association’s president Hermann Albers called for “fairness in the market”. He said that the planned subsidies for the 3.2-GW Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant over 35 years contradict Europe’s plans for a rapid expansion of the renewable energy market.

His views haven’t met with universal approval across the channel.
Hermann Albers
“It makes no sense to force renewables into a tendering corset while, at the same time, approving permanent subsidies for the construction of new nuclear power stations,” Albers said.

Despite expected legal challenges from Luxembourg an Austria, nuclear leaders in the UK still believe the plans for Hinkley will progress in the autumn.

On the fringes of the POWER-GEN Europe conference in Amsterdam last week, Tom Jones, Vice President of Business Development, Clean Energy at Amec Foster Wheeler told Power Engineering International he was confident that the UK could lead the way in bringing a renaissance in new nuclear despite the issues with reference plants for the UK’s main vendor EDF in Finland and France.

He also held the view that a possible Austrian objection to the Commission decision to facilitate Hinkley Point C would not materialise, or indeed threaten the project. He said the next step in the project would be the Final Investment Decision (FID), with the Chinese state visit to the UK in the autumn expected to be highly influential in moving the process on to the next phase.

Meanwhile Albers maintains that decentralised onshore wind capacity in Europe will be able to fill the gap left by the shutdown of old nuclear and fossil fuel power plants, an assertion that has been criticised by the World Nuclear Association.

David Hess of the WNA responded, telling PEi that nuclear power plants are capable of generating 24-7, and are the foundation of a healthy, modern energy system. “A balanced mix is the best way to ensure a low-carbon electricity supply that is also reliable and cost-optimised. It is hardly surprising to see a German renewables group campaign against nuclear, but it is unfortunate. The credibility of the case for climate action is undermined whenever any group puts ideology ahead of the interests of consumers and the environment.”

Power Engineering International asked Jennifer Webber of RenewableUK if the veracity of Albers assertion on wind’s capability to completely compensate for old plant closures stood up. She said the organisation confines its comments to the UK alone and generally didnt comment on other technologies, but did add, “Our vision is for wind to continue to play an increasing role in the UK’s electricity provision, as part of a balanced mix.”

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