Monday, 1 December 2014

How many hospital beds does it cost to provide extra electricity at peak times - or to timeshift it?

Depending on whether you take the EDF or the EU figure, Hinkley C will cost us the consumer/taxpayer between £5000 and £8000 per kilowatt of capacity. To underwrite this, the Government is committing us as taxpayers to a wholesale price guarantee to EDF of £93/MWh, which is 9.3p/unit. To get the corresponding domestic retail price, you can  at least double this figure to 18p.

What are we paying for and are there cheaper ways of getting it?

The 3.2GW capacity of Hinkley C equates to 120 Watts for each UK household.

Timeshifting 120W per household is not onerous. If each of us used delay timers, as fitted to modern appliances, it would very easily eliminate the need for such a power station.

All we need to do is set our dishwasher, tumble drier or washing machine to
come on at around 2-4 am when national demand is at a minimum.

Each of us would then save £600 to £1000 in new capacity costs, at no extra cost to anyone. We just need to remember to buy appliances with delay timers when we come to replace them.

Or do we have a spare £24 billion for the next new power station?  It's over ten times what George Osborne has just promised the NHS as a top-up.

At £255/night, it's 94 million hospital bed nights.

Tell your friends!