Under an agreement between the Government and EDF Energy, ironed out in 2013, Hinkley is guaranteed to earn £92.50 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy produced through a combination of wholesale market prices and a levy on consumer energy bills.
At the time Government said this would require top-up payments totaling £6bn via energy bills to meet the "strike price", but falling market prices have widened the forecast gap every year since then.
Two years ago the cost was estimated at £13bn before it spiralled to over £30bn under fresh analysis from the public spending watchdog last year.
The latest forecasts have revealed that EDF’s bid to build the first new nuclear plant in a generation could cost energy bill payers £50bn over the life of the project, well above the £6bn bill estimated in 2013.[Read more here]
Nuclear is the only generating technology with a inverse or negative learning curve. With every other technology, as installations rise, costs fall. As you can see in the chart below, as cumulative nuclear installations have risen, so have costs (measured in constant 2004 dollars). This is the opposite of what is happening with wind, solar, batteries and concentrated solar power (CSP), which are all falling precipitously in cost. For example, in Germany solar has fallen from 40 Euro cents per kWh in 2009-2011 to 5.9 cents/kWh now.
If I thought nuclear power would stop global warming, I would grit my teeth and support it. But for the same cost we can get 2 or 3 or 4 times as much electricity from renewables, and we can get it more quickly. The world could get to 50% renewables in 10 years, if we wanted to. With nuclear, we might not even have started construction in 10 years. Which is why, I suspect, hard and soft denialists are such enthusiastic supporters of nuclear. Because it requires continued reliance on fossil fuels.
How much does nuclear cost
Nuclear melt down