Slumping energy demand could spark brighter future for renewables

Low energy demand is also likely to hurt nuclear power producers, at least in the short term, experts agree. 

According to Elchin Mammadov, an energy analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, the technology most likely to suffer from lower demand is nuclear, because of its inflexibility.   

As nuclear power is impossible to temper, it can overwhelm the system when demand is sagging, as it is now.

To prevent blackouts,  last week the National Grid agreed to pay EDF Energy more than £50m to reduce power output from its Sizewell B nuclear plant for four months.

The prospects of Sizewell C, EDF’s huge new nuclear plant that is scheduled to be built in 2031, also hang in the balance.

While the forecasted demand for electricity over the next decade is not expected to change dramatically and new nuclear power is still likely to be needed, the economic devastation wrought by Covid-19 may change the Government’s approach to how Sizewell C is funded.

“The question is whether Covid-19 gives the Government an excuse to kill Sizewell C,” says Watson.

“I think the thing to watch will be the funding model currently under discussion, and whether the offer to EDF is something they can accept.”

As for cleaner sources of energy, experts agree that renewable producers are likely to benefit from the ongoing crisis.

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