The UK Government is moving too slowly on delivering policy to match its climate pledges, including on nuclear power station builds, its advisory body has said. In a new report released today, the Committee on Climate Change has warned that, despite rhetoric on cutting carbon emissions, too much policy is shrouded in uncertainty. The report notes that progress is likely to depend on two new large-scale nuclear power plants being operational by the mid-2030s, but states that “further clarity is needed on contracting models, and deployment of already-contracted capacity is falling behind schedule”. Building of the Wylfa Newydd nuclear project was suspended in 2019 after Hitachi subsidiary Horizon was offered a strike price – the guaranteed payment for the electricity generated – considerably lower than that agreed for Hinkley Point C. The Regulated Asset Base model, under which consumers pay some of the upfront costs of construction through their bills, was suggested as a new funding scheme for nuclear builds in early 2018. After a consultation on the issue, the government said in December 2020 that it would “continue to explore a range of financing options with developers”. Responding to the committee’s report, Nuclear Industry Association chief executive Tom Greatrex called for “urgent action” to “introduce a new financing model for large and small nuclear this year”, as well as giving support to the proposed Sizewell C (pictured) and another large-scale project in the next two or three years. “Without new investment, the UK risks losing its only proven source of firm, emissions-free power at a critical point for our climate goals,” he said. A government spokesperson did not comment on nuclear power but said it is making “clear, tangible progress” on its climate goals including making a record investment in wind power.
Construction News 24th June 2021 read more »