Nuclear power should be favoured over plans to build thousands of offshore wind turbines, the Government’s climate advisers have indicated.
The Committee on Climate Change said nuclear would be the most cost–effective way of providing low–carbon electricity into the 2020s, and called for about 14 new plants by the end of the next decade.
It would mean extending plans to build 12 reactors on seven sites by 2025.
The committee also said the “very aggressive pace” of government plans to build offshore wind turbines over the next nine years should be “moderated” because of its expense.
Incentives to boost offshore wind projects over the next decade will add about £50 to the average household electricity bill by 2020.
David Kennedy, the committee’s chief executive, said more support could be given to cheaper options, including air and ground–source heat pumps and onshore wind farms, to help Britain meet its EU target of providing 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
The Government expects more than 3,600 turbines to be installed in British waters by 2020, providing a capacity of 13 gigawatts.
Mr Kennedy said: “Offshore wind is a very promising technology and one we should support. It has a lot of resource potential and is becoming competitive over time. However, it will not be competitive with other low carbon technologies in the next decade or so.”
He said this meant the Government had to be flexible on its plans for offshore wind this decade.
The committee also said the Government should invest heavily in offshore wind in the 2020s because of its long–term importance to British energy.
It said 40 per cent of electricity should eventually come from renewables and 40 per cent from nuclear.