Over the last 30 years renewables have shown falling technology costs whereas costs for nuclear power are rising.
Over time falling technology costs will further reduce costs for support schemes.
Renewables have negligible externalities (health, risk and climate costs) and are therefore reducing the societal costs for the energy system that currently is dominated by fossils and nuclear.
Nuclear on the other hand has high externalities, and will never be able to cover risk costs associated with accidents, decommissioning and waste. Therefore it will require greater and longer term policy and fiscal support than renewable energy. If environmental costs are included in the price, renewables produce cheaper power than both nuclear and fossil fuel sources.
- Public support to nuclear through a guaranteed price such as currently planned in the UK at Hinkley Point will further distort the already unfair level playing field especially between nuclear and renewables.
Only renewables and energy efficiency are eligible for state aid under the current State aid guidelines for environment.
Under the internal electricity market directive public support is allowed "in theinterest of environmental protection and the promotion of infant technologies". EPRs such as the one in Hinkley Point do not qualify for any of these criteria.
- Security of supply, another criterion under the internal electricity market directive, allows for state intervention. However in the specific case of the UK there is no issue of security of supply since 30GW of new gas and renewables projects are in the pipeline to replace the old 26GW of installations that are to be phased out in 2015-2016. Hinkely Point would anyway only be operational in 2020-2023, years after UK's sharpest problems of security of supply.
- Re-assessing costs in the European power sector, Antony Froggatt, July 2013
- The new UK nuclear power programme, a FiT for nuclear and a blue print for illegal state aid? By Doerte Fouquet, Steven Thomas, December 2012
- Letter to Commissioners Almunia and Oettinger on nuclear
- Letter to Commissioner Almunia on renewables