Current low electricity prices are irrelevant when judging whether the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power plant is a good deal, EDF has claimed. Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy chief executive, issued a defence of the controversial £24.5bn project, insisting it is "affordable and fair" - despite mounting calls for it to be abandoned. Ministers have promised the French energy giant it will be paid £92.50 for every megawatt-hour of electricity the proposed Somerset power station will generate for 35 years. Critics argue the price, which is more than double the current wholesale price of power, represents poor value for money for consumers who will be forced to subsidise it through their energy bills. Mr de Rivaz said: “Some critics have compared the strike price to the current electricity price. The price today is not a relevant comparison to the electricity Hinkley Point will produce in decades to come. “Today’s market price depends on fossil fuels and ageing plants. Our project will ensure we don’t need to continue to depend on them in the future. “It is competitive with other forms of generation, including gas, when it is compared - as it should be - with projected mid-2020s prices.” Protesters blockade nuclear power station: The new reactors at Hinkley would be the first of eight new nuclear power stations to be built in the UK Illustration of the proposed Hinkley Point C plant Photo: EDF Energy EDF Energy said the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) central projections suggested that a new gas-fired power station coming online in 2024 would have an equivalent cost of £94 per megawatt-hour (MWh) unit of electricity, comparable with Hinkley. • Hinkley Point new nuclear power plant: the story so far Mr de Rivaz also argued that the market price of power today was “similar – even if it has decreased a little - to where it was two years ago when the price for Hinkley point C was agreed and welcomed”. According to data from the ICIS Power Index, wholesale power this week was trading at £42.41, down from £52.41 on the day the initial Hinkley deal was agreed in October 2013. Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy chief executive In October last year DECC was forced to revise down its power and gas price assumptions for the rest of this decade in the wake off falls in fossil fuel prices. Its projections suggested power prices in 2015-16 would be about £51/MWh, and would still be less than £54/MWh in 2020-21 - down from the £64/MWh that had been forecast previously. Mr de Rivaz insisted that Hinkley - which EDF recently admitted would no longer come online in 2023 as planned - would "be there when the country needs it". The comments echo those he made two years ago when he said: "In 2023, this project will arrive exactly when the country will need it." He argued that “great infrastructure projects in this country often face scepticism in the final stages of development”, citing the examples of Crossrail, the Channel Tunnel and Heathrow’s Terminal 5. “For me, this is a great pity. Britain’s infrastructure would be all the weaker if its leaders had allowed the doubters and procrastinators to derail those projects,” he said. A DECC spokesperson said: "Nuclear power is a key part of our low carbon energy mix, and will provide safe, reliable and affordable energy for future generations. "The UK Government and EDF are continuing to work together to finalise the Hinkley project. The deal must represent value for money and is subject to approval by Ministers.”