It was always clear after the German decision to scrap nuclear power that the sums for Wylfa might begin to look decidedly shaky if the potential to duplicate similar new nuclear plants elsewhere was diminished — especially when you also add into the mix the deteriorating European economic situation. Indeed, this is not the first time that rumours about the demise of Horizon have appeared in the press — back in July the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that both RWE and their other partner, E.On, were on the verge of shelving their UK nuclear projects. More recently there have been further rumours that Horizon had been looking for a third energy company to join the joint venture in order to both generate more investment and spread the risks further.
So, will this stop Wylfa B? My guess is probably not. Why? See the below diagram:
|Source: The Economist|
The fact is that most nuclear plants (including the current Wylfa reactor) and half of UK's coal plants are due to close over the coming decade meaning that of a total of around 75GW in generating capacity in the UK, 20GW will disappear by 2015. And as the current peak demand is around 65GW and growing, that means that the UK could be facing energy blackouts by as soon as 2015.
So ultimately the fact is that the UK Government needs Wylfa B far more than Horizon needs to build it. Lights will start to go off within a few years so there is no option but for the UK Government to ensure that plants like Wylfa are built, by hook or by crook…