Hitachi Ltd.’s U.K. nuclear unit is sticking with its “aggressive” plan to build at least four reactors in the U.K. even as wind, solar and battery technology costs keep falling.
Renewable energy still needs to be complemented by round-the-clock output of nuclear power for periods when the wind stops blowing and during the night, Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive officer of Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd. said in an interview in London. New nuclear plants too can be built faster because designs have been simplified, resulting in “more competitive” electricity over time, he said.
“I refer to nuclear as being the elephant,” said Hawthorne, who joined the Gloucester, England-based company in May and worked previously at Canada’s Bruce Power LP. “We are capable of being there all the time. We’re steady but we can’t maneuver very much.”
The U.K. government has guaranteed EDF a rate of 92.50 pounds ($122) a megawatt-hour for Hinkley’s electricity for as long as 35 years. That’s more than double current market prices and also about 80 percent higher than Vattenfall AB’s winning tender this week to build two offshore wind farms in the Danish North Sea.