Controversial new Hinkley nuclear power station 'not vital' for Britain's energy future

Hinkley Point B power station in Somerset Credit: PA

The UK does not need the controversial new Hinkley Point power station in order to meet its energy needs, a new report has found.

Building more wind farms and gas-fired power stations could be enough for “keeping the lights on” – as long as demand is managed correctly, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said.

The UK could save £1 billion a year if the Point C power station, planned to replace the current Point B station in Somerset, is not built.

ECIU director Richard Black said: "We wanted to know how essential Hinkley is for the 'energy trilemma' - keeping the lights on whilst cutting greenhouse gas emissions and keeping costs down.

"Our conclusion is that it's not essential; using tried and tested technologies, with nothing unproven or futuristic, Britain can meet all its targets and do so at lower cost."

Campaigners have staged protests against the controversial plans Credit: PA

The report ‘Hinkley What If?’ added that replacing all Hinkley electricity with additional offshore wind farms would cut the average household bill by £10-20 per year and replacing its peak-time output with gas-fired units would save £16 billion in infrastructure costs.

It comes after EDF, the French energy firm set to build the power station, said last month that Hinkley is "vital" for the UK.

The company's British chief said that Britain's eight remaining nuclear power stations look increasingly arthritic.

Theresa May raised concerns about China’s involvement in the project, which would cost £18 billion, and last month delayed a decision on its approval.

A final decision on Hinkley Point -which would be Britain's first nuclear power plant in a generation – is due to be made by the government in September.