THE Tories are backing the wrong energy horse with the “£100 billion boondoggle” that is the new nuclear power station Hinkley Point C, according to one of Scotland’s leading energy experts, writes Greg Russell.

Professor Peter Strachan, of Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University, said the new station would risk increasing fuel poverty and consumer fuel bills.

The £18 billion plant in Somerset – which is expected to create more than 25,000 jobs – is being financed by the French and Chinese governments, but Strachan said it would double the current price for electricity.

“By opting for very expensive new nuclear build at Hinkley Point, and reducing support for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, the Conservative Government is betting on the wrong energy horse,” he said.

“This move will have the impact of hitting consumer bills and greatly increasing the risk of fuel poverty in Scotland and across the rest of the United Kingdom.

“Fuel poverty is already higher in Scotland than England and the Scottish Government is more than justified in rejecting what will amount to a potentially £100bn boondoggle.

“The Conservative Government should rethink its entire national electricity policy and ensure that more and not less support is given to onshore and offshore wind, and other marine renewables, as well as giving greater priority to energy efficiency measures.

“We must make the current energy transition work – not only to meet our targets on emissions and low carbon generation, but for the national security of our nation.”

Although two foreign governments are financing the Hinkley project, the UK Government claims it will have control over foreign investment in “critical infrastructure”.

Ministers will be able to stop the state-controlled French energy firm EDF from selling off its stake in Hinkley.

However, other critics of the deal have warned of escalating costs and the implications of allowing nuclear power plants to be built in the UK by foreign governments. They also say that it is too expensive, will take too long to build and leaves the UK too reliant on foreign powers for its energy.