A collective massive sigh of relief has been let out today with the news that EDF is to go ahead and build Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor after striking a price deal with the UK government (see story UK and EDF nuclear deal gives go-ahead for Hinkley Point C).
John Cridland, director-general of business organisation the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) said it was “a landmark deal which will help us meet our future energy challenges, while boosting jobs and growth”.
He said: “New nuclear plants must be a fundamental feature of our future energy landscape, and Hinkley Point C is the starter gun to securing the investment we need.”
He added that “amid understandable public concern about rising bills, it’s important to remember this investment will help mitigate the impact of increasing costs.”
Tony Ward, head of power and utilities at consultants EY (Ernst & Young) said that “today’s announcement marks a huge step towards delivering a balanced, lower carbon, energy mix for future generations of UK energy users”.
He said the UK is now “materially closer to being able to deliver its first new nuclear station in 25 years. This investment will have a lasting positive impact on the UK’s energy independence, its economy, the local communities and the UK’s low carbon aspirations.”
And he stressed that agreement on the long-awaited strike price – settled at £92.50 MW/h – was “one of the most significant enablers to unlock positive investment decisions, not just from EDF at their Hinkley site, but other potential co-investors, and subsequently from other developers, such as Horizon and NuGen”.
“Whilst not the final piece of the jigsaw, this is undoubtedly one of the most significant,” he added.
George Borovas, head of international nuclear projects at global law firm Pillsbury, said today’s strike price agreement “is a pivotal moment for the UK nuclear industry”.
“Tangible support from governments is one of the most important factors in the development of successful nuclear new build projects.”
“EDF has been poised to move forward for some time and other key industry players have been watching the negotiations very closely. This decision could have a positive domino effect on the UK nuclear industry as an uncertainty that has plagued the sector in recent years has finally been removed.”
Borovas said that the UK “is an environment in which new nuclear can thrive and additional new build projects are likely to follow”.
“The country is now in a strong position to form long-term strategic relationships with the international nuclear industry. It is clear that EDF and Hitachi need to entice investors and the security that both companies can now offer presents a rock-solid foundation they can build on.”