BSRIA is pleased that the government’s decision for the go ahead for a new £18bn nuclear power station in the UK will ensure that there is more generation capacity to stop “the lights literally going out” when it is built but is concerned that there hasn’t been a more committed investment in renewable technologies.
Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said: “While this announcement is a big step in decarbonising the UK’s energy supply, we shouldn’t forget industry’s call for renewable energy. Especially as so many renewable energy policies have recently been cut with less than industry-friendly energy u-turns.
These include government scrapping subsidies for onshore wind and commercial solar – the two cheapest forms of clean energy, slashing the energy efficiency budget, lowering taxes on polluting firms and introducing a tax on clean energy. Green Deal Finance Company funding ending is yet another example of this, along with energy-saving materials being singled out as no longer qualifying for reduced-rate VAT.
Technologies such as new combined cycle gas turbines, renewables and electricity storage must be driven forward, alongside demand management initiatives.”
The new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, which will create more than 25,000 jobs, is being financed by the French (EDF) and the Chinese. EDF is funding two-thirds of the project with China investing the remaining £6bn.
EDF, which is building the plant, said: "The decision of the British Government to approve the construction of Hinkley Point C marks the relaunch of nuclear in Europe." Government said it would now "impose a new legal framework for future foreign investment in Britain's critical infrastructure".
Hinkley will meet seven per cent of Britain's energy needs.
The new agreement comes with strings: there will be increased scrutiny of the national security implications of foreign ownership of critical infrastructure.
Julia added: "This decision does show ministers are serious about industrial strategy and creating our safe and sustainable low-carbon energy supplies of the future. It is a start to demonstrating that the UK is ready to trade on a global stage.”