In response to news that the government is to delay its final decision on a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, Dr David Clarke FREng, chief executive of the Energy Technologies Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, commented
that it is important that Government moves quickly to ensure that the UK builds a balanced portfolio of low carbon energy sources across nuclear, renewables and fossil fuels with CCS, to ensure that consumers can have confidence in a secure future energy supply, and that we are able to meet our carbon reduction targets: “The nuclear sector would undoubtedly benefit from a swift decision, which would give it the confidence and certainty to invest, and would in turn benefit the rest of the supply chain.”
He added: “That said, a decision to build a new nuclear power plant is one that naturally demands careful and comprehensive deliberation – it is not a decision that can be taken lightly and consideration must be given to a broad range of impacts including security of supply, environmental sustainability, safety and cost to the public purse. It is understandable then that a new secretary of state, with a new brief as part of a new government, should want to give due thought to such a decision, but investors will not wait indefinitely when they have other opportunities.”
Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, said the decision by the Government to delay approval for the construction of Hinkley Point, while understandable that the Government wants to get to grips with the details of the contract, it must press ahead to finalise the deal as soon as possible: “The UK is facing a major investment challenge to ensure a secure, low-carbon and affordable energy supply. It’s crucial that we see clear and timely decisions, and send a definite message that the UK is well and truly open for business.
“In particular, clarity is needed around the next Contracts for Difference auction and the post-2020 Levy Control Framework, to build investor confidence.”