SSE boss: Hinkley’s significance for UK’s energy security overplayed

SSE boss: Hinkley's significance for UK's energy security overplayed

Hinkley Point’s significance to the UK’s needs for secure, modern supplies of electricity has been repeatedly overplayed.

That’s the view of SSE’s CEO, Alistair Phillips-Davies who said in an interview the country has enough credible alternatives to secure new, cleaner technology to replace older power stations and balance the mix as well as a policy framework to deliver necessary investment.

He added: “It has a price for carbon (introduced in 2013) to help to clean our electricity system by providing a price advantage to lower carbon emitting plants over dirtier ones. It then has specific low carbon contracts (introduced in 2014) to provide a stable return for new large-scale low carbon generation like nuclear or offshore wind.

“To complete the package it runs an annual generation capacity auction (also introduced in 2014) whereby power stations receive a payment to be available when they are most needed to keep the lights on.”

The SSE boss believes the country should focus on those three policies to ensure that the nation has secure and affordable electricity and is still on track to meet climate change targets.

Mr Phillips-Davies added: “Today there is now nearly twice as much generating capacity from new gas-fired power stations and offshore wind potentially waiting to come on to the country’s electricity system by 2025 as there is old coal and nuclear coming off.

“There are also other new nuclear projects being developed around the country. And there are other options to be thought about: wind power in the remote Scottish islands and perhaps even some repowering of old wind farms without subsidy, as well as emerging technologies like small modular reactors or Demand-Side-Response and storage.”