by Jerome a Paris
Fri May 18th, 2012 at 08:12:49 AM EST
My attention has recently been directed to a letter from Vince Cable to David Cameron, sent in February and published by the BBC in March (PDF) on the topic of industrial policy.
Beyond the tortuous reasonings to justify having an industrial policy (it boils down to "we're not picking winners, but it's a request of big business"), the most interesting bit was this quote:
While we are making move to promote the next generation of renewables (nuclear and offshore wind)
Nukes as renewables? That's quite an argument to make... Low carbon may be arguable, but renewable is rather more of a stretch!
But this means, more interestingly, that as a "renewable" source of energy, nuclear is likely to become a candidate for a feed-in tariff (or its marketista-distorted cousin, the "contract for differences" whereby the government lets you sell your power on the market but pays you the difference between that price and an agreed fixed price) ... but the price level required for nukes is a big open question and there are suggestions that it will end up being significantly higher than onshore wind and close to what is offered to offshore wind in other countries. That will put quite a dent in the argument that nukes are so much cheaper than renewables as a source of low carbon electricity. We'll see...